Social Influences on Behavior - Assignment Example

Human interaction is studied by the social psychologists scientifically by analyzing the changes in human behavior in different contexts and situations. There are many theories and concepts that are suggestive of the reason to the behavior of people in certain situations. One such can be conformity. As the word implies, it involves modifying the person’s attitudes and behavior so as to bring them up or down to some standard. This conformity and the human responses to behave accordingly and gain social approval and avoid rejection have been attributed to ‘normative social influence’.

According to the psychologists, there are social norms and humans tend to relate them as expected and understood rules of behavior and hence their conduct is accordingly. Otherwise, the price that the people will have to pay for being different can be harsh and severe as social rejection is not pleasant. According to the learning theories in psychology, reinforcement is also one of the reasons as to why people behave in certain situations as expected out of them. Reinforcement leads to motivation in people to either carry on or discontinue a specific behavior.

There can be consequences of reinforcement and people would carry on with a certain behavior if they get intrinsic rewards or extrinsic rewards and might discontinue a behavior if they get punishment. Hence, reinforcement can both be positive and negative. Light can be thrown over the fact that much of our social behavior is a result of modeling, which is done by observing and interacting with others and then assuming that a imitating the specific behavior and then reinforcement determines whether the chosen behavior was socially apt or not (Ramnero & Torneke, 2008).

All in all, there are three basic dimensions that allow us to analyze the human behavior and the social environment namely: biophysical, psychological and social. Altogether, the three dimensions are called the system of biopsychosocial functioning. The biophysical dimension seeks to explain the human behavior through biological and physiological mechanisms such as health, sleep and hunger which would give explanation for the individual’s behavior in a specific situation and circumstance.

The psychological dimension explains human behavior through the cognition in humans, communication and regulation of emotions, self-concept and self-esteem. Whereas the in social dimension there is social, group, community, institutional and organizational approach to identify how social relationships contribute to the human behavior. Humans have relations with other people and they tend to influence their individual, family, group and societal behavior (Ashford, LeCroy and Lortie, 2009).

Examples: An example of the social self can be the peer pressure that teens face and without any need, start drinking, smoking and doing drugs. This is a very scenario at the high schools these days when the young adults indulge into such activities just because they do not want to be left out in any of the thing that many others of their age are doing. Such behaviors usually occur in the high school parties such as proms, dances and other parties.

Kids being away from the speculating eyes and amongst huge masses of ‘friends’ try out such things just to impress their peers that they are as ‘cool’ and can virtually do everything. The precursors can be concepts such as self presentation and impression management. It is a desire to present oneself in a certain way to the external audience as well as the internal audience. The external audience can be the other kids surrounding them and the internal audience can be the person him or herself trying to convince oneself that he/she can be and is probably like everyone else out there and should also do such a thing.

Moreover, the young person in such a scenario is also making social comparisons because he/she tends to analyze oneself by comparing him/her to the others surrounding them. Had they been surrounded by little children and toddlers, they would not think of trying out the drinks, smoking and drugs because they cannot make the social comparison in this regard with little kids. Hence, due to comparison when such young people feel they are missing on ‘stuff’ they tend to indulge in such frivolities that might become potential problems in the later age.

Consequences of such a behavior can lead to conformity of these young people with those who already have such bad habits. They conform to the certain standards and maintain them because they believe these are the norms of their social world where smoking, drinking and doing drugs is brave and adventurous and makes a person feel a whole lot better. Moreover, this can lead to the development of self-concepts in such young people who judge themselves based on how they imagine others see them and perceive them as.

Another example can be of normal and educated people being biased against people of colors and getting all racists when it comes to associating with them. This can be seen when many universities reject colored people the scholarships and rather give them to an equal-at-all-level white person or maybe even less outstanding than the colored person. This could be because someone on the board of directors does not hold the colored people in much esteem and hence denies them entrance.

The precursors of such a behavior can be priming which is when certain emotions and responses are triggered upon the exposure towards a particular situation without conscious awareness. The biased person cannot really attribute his dislike to any particular reason related to the person and hence would find some excuse or logic to justify his dissatisfaction with a colored student and convince others as well. Whereas, the biased person might be like this because in the past he might not have had a good experience with colored people and therefore tends to generalize.

This also brings us to stereotyping which is making assumptions about people based on a few others from their race, religion, caste or creed. For instance, blacks have been treated as slaves and hence, the person would tend to generalize any black person who applies to an Ivy League university as someone who would not manage well with the social life amongst the whites and would be able to fit in and would be aggressive compared to the others. Consequences of such a bias can be many.

One can be confirmation bias when such biased people tend to not seek information that would disprove what they believe about the colored people. They would seek out events and information that would confirm their preconceived notions. As for the victims of such bias, they tend to dis-identify themselves because being a certain way holds no pride for them and they get de-motivated and lose their interest in things which once held importance for them.

Their self-concept and self-esteem are threatened. A lot of misattribution takes place when the wrong situation or the person gets the blame just so that a certain thing could be justified. The behaviors of the young people being on the verge to experiment with needs counseling because these can become habits which are difficult to get rid of and are harmful for the life ahead and for others as well namely: passive smoking, drunk driving, sexual assault under the influence of drugs.

Much of today’s day-to-day crimes and accidents are due to these harmful things and their intoxicating effects. As for the biases, they need to be also counseled because in today’s globalized era, there in new approach towards managing diversity. Not everyone has the necessary skills and what one person has can be complemented by the other person’s special abilities hence such attitudes tend to foster nothing but irrelevant hate and that too towards people who are innocent and are no cause of past events in the history.