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Human Behavior: How Five General Perspectives Affect Marriage Term Paper

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Updated: Jan 13th, 2020

Introduction

Human behaviors are greatly influenced by five general perspectives namely biological, social and cultural cognitive, learning and psychodynamic influences. A person’s behavior is a joint function of previous life experiences and immediate environment.

Experiences contribute greatly to success of any relationships (Kalat, 2002). In a marriage relationship the general perspectives play an important role to its beginning, development and success. Both men and women look for biological aspects such as intelligence, beauty, kindness and sexual behaviors before committing themselves to a marriage relationship.

Romantic love which often leads to marriage is considered as part of leaning perspective of human behavior. This is because it involves serious emotions that need to be nurtured over time (Kalat, 2002).

Social and cultural aspects also contribute to behavior of a person which is important in success of love marriage relationships. This paper will focus on how five general perspectives contribute to the beginning, development and success of a marriage relationship.

Biological perspective

Behavior is prompted by forces or factors that may have a biological base. Some structures, body mechanisms and behavior play an important role on how behavior arises. Biological factors such as brain are believed to influence human behavior and experiences thus affecting marriage relationships (Kalat, 2002).

For instance, through sensory processes, the brain is able to receive information through the neurons and dendrites. This information is analyzed, interpreted and decisions made.

The brain then commands the muscles to take action. Human behavior is directed by the brain which happens to be endowed with the capacity to carry out multifaceted functions with various parts playing specific roles (Kalat, 2002). The autonomic nervous system is composed of all the neurons that carry messages between the central nervous system and internal organs of the body.

This system is necessary for such body functions as breathing, flow of blood and experiencing of various emotions. This greatly affects human relationships and how these relationships begins and develop (Kalat, 2002). The nerve fibers direct a person on how to react in various situations.

The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system like parasympathetic division is involved in controlling and integrating the actions of the gland and the smooth muscles within the body. The parasympathetic division compensates for the sympathetic division and lets the body rest after a stressful moment.

This is important in relationships especially in marriage when there is stressful moment. Hormones affect person behavior which in turn affects relationships. This is because they affect an individual’s alertness, excitability, sexual behavior, aggressiveness, reactions to stress and ability to concentrate (Kalat, 2002).

All this behaviors play an important role in a marriage relationship. Radical changes in hormones can contribute to psychological disorders like depression which can lead to break down of a marriage.

Depression makes a person behave in strange ways and if the spouses does not understand what is happening may consider divorce if they are not able to cope with each other. Genetics too contributes to behavior. Heredity for instance determines to some extent hyperactivity, emotionality, and responsiveness to stress, nervousness, shyness, aggressiveness and intelligence.

There exists a direct relationship between behavior and biology which in turn affects human experience and relationships. Almost all human behavior has a biological foundation and an understanding of biological factors can facilitate our understanding of human behavior (Kalat, 2002).

Psychodynamic perspective

According to Freud, behavior is based on a region of mind that lies beyond reach of consciousness and he termed this region as unconscious. He explained it as the repository of primitive sexual and aggressive drives or instincts (Feldman, 1996). According to Freud we may do things without understanding the true motives that promoted these behaviors (Feldman, 1996).

This can lead to marital problems as the spouse sometimes say or do things their partners do not understand and this may end up hurting the other person. According to Freud, personality consists of three separate but interacting parts: the Id, ego and superego.

What a person thinks, feels, and does is a function of the interactions of these three hypothetical structures. Freud explained that Id consists solely of unconscious drives for pleasure (Feldman, 1996). In a marriage where partners Id is not controlled can lead to many problems for that partner will not be considering the other person’s feelings but instead he/she will be guided by immediate satisfaction of his/her needs.

Ego involves cognitive processes that develop to process information such as thinking, reasoning and planning. Unlike Id, ego is largely conscious and it develops in order to help the Id obtain real rather than imaginary satisfaction. The superego contains moral principles and values which have been acquired from parents and society (Feldman, 1996).

For a marriage to be successful people always consider the moral principles and values of the partner before committing themselves to marriage. Moral principles and values are important for success of a marriage. Superego is the conscious part that contains moral prohibitions against certain behaviors especially those expressing sexual and aggressive drives of Id (Feldman, 1996).

The other part of the superego is the ego-ideal which is the image of what one ideally can be and how one ought to behave. Freud purpose of this theory was to help people overcome psychological problems which are of great importance in a marriage. This calls for partners to be realistic and of good morals and values for success of a marriage (Feldman, 1996).

Learning

Learning is an adaptive process because it enhances our ability to change. Learning is described as a change in behavior as a result of experience and this change must be relatively permanent (Kalat, 2002). According to associative theory of learning, classical conditions results from association of stimuli in the environment.

Psychologists have demonstrated that classical conditioning is a wide spread phenomenon because stimuli are often paired in day to day experiences (Feldman, 1996). Marriage is not an exception of this because two different people are involved who can learn from each other.

Spouse in marriage can predict the reaction of each other in different conditions because they have learnt and understood each other as a result of staying together. This is important in a marriage as differences will reduce with time as they understand each other (Feldman, 1996).

Operant conditioning is based on assumption that behavior is influenced by its consequences. It includes an entire array of voluntary behavior. According to the principle of operant conditioning, the behavior that occurs most frequently is the one which produces a positive consequence (Kalat, 2002).

If spouses in a marriage appreciate each other for good big and small things they do, they may develop a habit of doing the good things. For example, an attempt of a partner to quit alcoholism, if the reduction number of beers consumed is appreciated, the partner will strive towards overcoming alcoholism completely.

This will be beneficial for a successful marriage. Operant conditioning explains how a good deal of behavior is learned.

Cognitive psychologists argue that people use a variety of non-observed mental processes to take in and manipulate information about their environment. These mental or cognitive processes include memory, thinking and representation (Kalat, 2002).

They focus people’s awareness of situation and their active participation in the learning situation. In a marriage it is important for each partner to consider the extent to which different types of undertakings involves mental manipulation of information and strategies to reach decisions and execute plans.

According to social learning theory, people can learn by means of others than direct reinforcement (Kalat, 2002). For example by observation one can learn behaviors of the other person.

This is important to people in love as they can take time to observe and learn the behaviors of each other before considering marriage. Learning is always taking place. People learn good or bad in various ways.

Some behavior is learned intentionally while others are learnt naturally and just picked from the environment. Through classical conditioning, operant conditioning, cognitive and social learning, a lot of behavior can be learned (Feldman, 1996).

Cognitive

Cognitive focuses on reasoning, memory and thinking as the processes influencing behavior. Cognitive perspectives recognize the active role of the mind in organizing perceptions, processing and interpreting experiences. A person normally organizes information about another person to form an overall impression of that person (Feldman, 1996).

Major traits are usually considered in forming impression of others. For instance, if in marriage the wife only appreciates her husband basing on his main traits, other traits that are good may not receive much weight.

Stereotyping is another way of forming impressions about the other partner which can easily ruin a marriage as some people do not like being associated with their race or ethnic. Sex-role stereotypes can have potential damaging effects (Feldman, 1996).

For example, the notion that men and women have and ought to have particular characteristics can be misleading when it comes to marriage as it might not be true characteristics of the other person.

Social and cultural perspective

Social cultural focuses on cultural and social influences on behavior; society and culture of different communities play an important role in shaping behavior of a person. Psychologists focus on gender, ethnicity, lifestyle, income level and culture and their influences on behavior and mental processes.

Theories of social and culture stresses on the importance of social norms and cultural on behavior (Kalat, 2002). Culture is the complex system of meaning and behavior that defines the way of life for a given society. Culture includes ways of thinking as well as patterns of behavior.

Culture is experienced and collectively agreed upon. It shapes children and adults behavior. It develops as people adapt to the physical and social environments around them. People learn expectations of the society through socialization (Kalat, 2002).

In a marriage social and culture affects the behavior of each partner and it calls for understanding and acceptance of their cultural diversities. Spouses should first learn to accept the culture of their partners even before they get married and learn to appreciate each other.

Culture plays an important role in shaping behavior of an individual and so it should not be undermined when it comes to choosing marriage partners. Cultural elements include language, norms, beliefs and values and they differ from one culture to another.

A person considering marrying someone from another culture must be willing to understand the elements of culture of the other person. Children learn their cultural elements through interactions in their society (Feldman, 1996).

Culture also changes and most often people are resistant to cultural changes and therefore in a marriage, spouses must be willing to accommodate each other’s culture. Culture is dynamic not static and it develops as people respond to changes in their physical and social environment (Kalat, 2002).

Conclusion

Human behaviors are greatly influenced by five general perspectives namely biological, social and cultural cognitive, learning and psychodynamic influences. A person’s behavior is a joint function of previous life experiences and immediate environment.

Experiences contribute greatly to success of any relationships. Behavior is prompted by forces or factors that may have a biological base. Some structures, body mechanisms and behavior play an important role on how behavior arises.

Biological factors such as brain are believed to influence human behavior and experiences thus affecting marriage relationships (Kalat, 2002). For a marriage to be successful people always consider the moral principles and values of the partner before committing themselves to marriage. Moral principles and values are important for a successful marriage (Feldman, 1996).

Learning is an adaptive process because it enhances our ability to change. Marriage is not an exception of this because two different people are involved who can learn from each other. Spouse in marriage can predict the reaction each other in different conditions because they have learnt and understood each other due to staying together.

This is important in a marriage as differences will reduce with time due to understanding of each other (Kalat, 2002). Society and culture of different communities play an important role in shaping behavior of a person (Kalat, 2002). Culture plays an important role in shaping behavior of an individual and so it should not be undermined when it comes to choosing marriage partners.

References

Feldman, R.(1996).Understanding psychology. McGraw Hill: New York.

Kalat, J.(2006). Introduction to psychology. New York: Pacific Grove.

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