Why do people behave the way they do By M. Why do people behave the way they do Why do some people behave in a weird way? Why do some people keep doing certain things over and over?
Within the Health Forum, separate groups were set up to tackle relevant areas. Why do people behave in the way they do? In the following summary I will try to briefly explain some of the main themes that answer this question and how we can try to convince people to keep to the rules to ensure their own safety and that of those around them.
Rules Human behaviour is largely constrained by the rules that govern particular situations and environments. We are constantly obliged to behave in a particular way, or to avoid certain behaviours.
These rules may be formal regulations such as laws, or they may be informal rules of 'social etiquette', which are not written down but are implicit within the situation itself.
This fundamental distinction concerns the perceived consequences of rule violations for other people; why does a particular rule exist?
We must differentiate here between moral rules and social-conventional rules eg: Transgressions of moral rules result in direct infringements of people's rights and welfare. For example, we have formal laws forbidding assault and theft, and informal rules about not cheating on one's partner or shouting unwarranted verbal insults.
Social-conventional transgressions are considered to be less serious. They violate the arbitrary and agreed-upon conventions that co-ordinate the behaviour of individuals within social systems; for example, failing to make a tax return, TV licence evasion or talking to yourself in public places.
There is strong evidence eg: Smetana, that children are able to distinguish between these types of transgression from an early age and throughout early adulthood, and that moral transgressions are considered far more serious than infringements of social-conventional rules.
In general, moral transgressions trigger one of the 'moral emotions'; guilt, shame, remorse or empathy eg: These emotions act as internal 'cues' to prevent future transgressions.
Social-conventional transgressions do not directly initiate these internal emotional cues, but depend on the threat of legal punishment or social disapproval to maintain appropriate behaviour.
In general, if people adhere to the rules, then any system will work smoothly, every individual will co-operate with one another, and everyone's welfare will be ensured. After all, this is why the rules exist. However, people don't always keep to the rules. Breaking a rule reduces the safety margins that rules inherently provide, and increases the likelihood of an 'accident'.
Frequently this rule-breaking behaviour is not the result of a deliberate act, but is committed without conscious intent. What causes this behaviour, and how can it be prevented? Attitudes vs behaviour Attitudes have generally been considered as 'steering' behaviour in some fairly concrete way.
Traditionally, it is thought that if you change someone's attitudes, then their behaviour will also change to fall in line with those changes.
However, although there is evidence showing that this approach can work eg: In addition, there is a problem in measuring attitudes - the attitudes that an individual claims to support are only true at the moment that they are requested.
A large number of factors will affect those stated attitudes. Consider a Fire Officer asking a youth about their attitude towards smoking in bed, after they have just attended a talk on the dangers of domestic fires.
Can we assume that this measure is accurate and likely to predict behaviour? It is unlikely, and although this is an extreme example, the same effects can be seen whenever a measure of attitude is taken.
Habits An attitude is essentially a 'behavioural intention'; how we would like to behave at the time that we are asked. The trouble is that there are a huge variety of things that stop us from behaving in the way we say we would like to behave.
We may think that smoking in bed after a few beers is potentially dangerous, but if that is what we have always done when we get home from a night out, then we will continue to do so regardless. Why do habits form? Humans have only a limited cognitive capacity Miller, ; we can only think about a certain number of things at a time.
The less thought that goes into our day-to-day lives, the better. As a result of this, we have adapted the way in which we use this finite capacity.Understand why people behave the way they do What is it?
It is a clear understanding of what causes and influences the problem or negative behaviour, and . Breaking the rules: Why do people behave in the way they do? In the following summary I will try to briefly explain some of the main themes that answer this question and how we can try to convince people to keep to the rules to ensure their own safety and that of those around them.
Here are two reasons for behaving the way we do, despite knowing our behavior may have negative effects. The first is my own plain, learned-on-the street reason.
People behave the way they do without understanding the reason behind it. Sam never knew the reason behind his behaviour though he used to think a lot about it. The subconscious mind directs people's actions and if you want to understand why do people behave the way they do then you must get a clear understanding of their past for it holds the clues you are looking for.
You may be interested to know that Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) developed by William T. Powers provides a solid meta-theoretical basis for understanding why people behave as they do (i.e., as indicated above, to get they what they want).
The answer is deceptively simple and very powerful. People behave the way they do because Their behavior gets them what they want. Nothing more or less. It gets them what they want. This is the reason they are behaving the way they do.
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