Human behavior Essay
Behavior of individuals in various settings is at times very difficult due to ethical constraints. This includes the investigation of why people take risks or gamble with their decision making processes. However, it is quite interesting to note that on situations which are not so threatening for individuals, it is apparent that people typically take risks in picking their options or when making their final choice. The following shows available data on human motivation and the theories surrounding the topic.
Risk taking is defined as “engaging in any activity with an uncertain outcome,” as one scholar puts it. Theories of Motivation on Risk Taking Different theories describe and explain risk taking and why human beings are motivated to pursue or engage in activities or behavior that put their lives in much danger or create an element of risk of whatever form. The following are taken from current literature in the field of human behavior analysis. 1. Psychoanalytic or Psychodynamic Theory.
Following the tradition of Freud, human motivation to take risks is taken from the basic understanding that when people feel fear in a certain situation or occasion, it is not good to overcome that fear. Freudian theory condemns outrightly risk taking as plain insanity. It reasons that to risk man’s very life has no warrant at all. It is nonsense. In other important spheres of life, however, to risk is inevitable and deemed necessary. There are many successful people in the business world who are known as risk takers (Llewellyn, 2003).
They succeed, in fact, because of this unique attitude in them which is considered foolhardy in other realms. While it is true that life is the most precious commodity a man could ever possess, and to risk it is foolishness, it is equally true that not to risk at all in other areas means cowardice and immobility. Psychoanalysts even treat risk-taking behavior as a symptom of “a diseased mind. ” Because for them, life is not to be gambled, therefore, it is insanity when someone chooses bungee-jumping as his/her sport (Llewellyn, 2003). 2. The Evolutionary Theory.
Evolutionary theory explained man’s adventurous nature as simply an expression of his primal instincts (Llewellyn, 2003). Assuming that Darwin’s theory is correct, that man evolved from apes like common animal, a human early in the evolutionary process had to fight for his life to survive. This survival nature, according to this theory, is retained in modern man’s genetic make up (Llewellyn, 2003). This is the reason why even those people in the elite echelon of society choose to use their favorite sport like riding a dirigible as their campaign tool to promote their business.
The problem with this theory is that it has remained to be unproven and lacking in evidences as yet. Humans are not proven to have descended from apes. 3. Contemporary Theories a. Extroversion and Introversion Personality theories contend that this two broad scope of personality traits capture the individual’s propensity towards behaving in certain ways. Extroversion helps explain why some people tend to be outgoing and hence, the greater the probability to engage in risky decisions (Llewellyn, 2003). b. Emotional Stability and Neuroticism
This is another of the Contemporary theories that shed light on traits that remain stable over a period of time, clearly indicating which may best describe an individual and what differs him/her from another. Emotionally stable people, as those who posit on this model, may take risks but have taken many things to great lengths in order to get the best possible option or alternative (Llewellyn, 2003). Conversely, people who are more on the neuroticism side manifest the greater tendency to take risks without much weighing on the consequences.
The tendency to be impulsive is to a higher degree present in individuals under this category. 4. Eysenck and Costa and McCrae’s model These two theorists added their own version to the array of personality theories. The former has the Psychoticism versus Humaneness dimension while the latter two theorists added three dimensions: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness. The main argument against these classifications is its narrowness in explaining and categorizing the complexities that make human behavior (Llewellyn, 2003).
While they help explore different behaviors or attitudes, there are more that remained unexplained. Until now, certain serial killers or murderers, defy the above mentioned explanations of human behavior. 5. The Zuckerman ‘Sensation Seeking Trait’ Although an expansion on one of the features of Psychoticism and Humaneness model, Sensation Seeking helps also explain the differences between individuals. There are people who do have a higher degree of this trait; like more men seek sensation-enhancing-experiences or “venturesome” traits, while others have very minimal of this trait.
This is what Zuckerman refers to in his Sensation seeking trait theory. What other experts consider as this theory’s limitation is embedded in the matter of other personality traits’ influence on risk taking behavior other than this trait by itself. Studies reveal that the psychological profiles of risk takers are diverse and the universality of this trait is still further being investigated (Llewellyn, 2003). Risk taking is a fascinating area of interest for many students of human behavior.
When explored through the eyes of a Psychoanalyst, the subject becomes even more intriguing because Freudian understanding possesses an attractive alternative to the more cognitive way of assessing risk taking behavior. When the subject of evolutionary psychology of explaining risk taking behavior is concerned, it contains a ring of truth in it that many today are convinced of its manner of explaining behavior. Instinct is still a potent facet in behavior that cannot be eradicated from the study of behavior of humans (Llewellyn, 2003).
When people are confronted with the distinctiveness of the human personality, the dimensions are almost unlimited; some experts opt for the multi-dimensional method while others choose the narrow and concise way. All of these approaches have their strengths and weaknesses; degree of breadth and limitations. However, they are good and profitable for jumpstarting further explorations into the human psyche and its accompanying expressions.
Reference: 1. Llewellyn, David J. 2003. The Psychology of Risk Taking. Accessed in www. risktaking. co. uk.