Psychology is a discipline that analyses people’s behavior and explains why people behave the way they do. This is because people’s behavior is so dynamic, varied and at times complicated.
We will write a custom Essay on Social, Cultural and Religious Influences on Behavior Formation specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Behavior is not innate but acquired. People tend to respond to specific environments and portray a certain kind of behavior according to the requirements of that environment. A number of external factors can influence behavior depending on the intended outcome of that behavior. This paper will explain three of them: social, cultural and spiritual factors.
The influence of social factors on behavior is profound. People have the tendency to imitate and copy what they see other people do, in order to fit in socials setting. Psychologists are still researching on whether this kind of behavior mimicry is intentional or unintentional.
Take for example when a person is in a group where dialogue is very loud. The person will automatically talk in the same loud voice, to fit into this group. This behavior mimicry can also be portrayed when people smile back at strangers who smile at them. Smiling back is an automatic response. Whether they will exhibit the same feelings or not is still debatable (Bargh, Chen & Lara, 1996).
Societies have elaborate norms, rules and beliefs about life, known as culture. These values and beliefs can affect a person’s behavior. However, Marsha (2010) argues that cultural rules do not force a certain behavior in a person because people have free will. Sadie (2010) explains that the relationship between culture and behavior is interdependent. People observe cultural values, seeks to understand them, interpret them in their own way.
These interpretations are the basis of behavior formation in people. A culture is formed when people in the same environment repeatedly exhibit the same behavior. This means that people‘s behavior reflect culture and culture reflect people’s behavior. Culture is also subject to change because of varied interpretation of cultural rules. Religion is a set of beliefs that direct the worship of a supreme being. Humanity, since time immemorial is known to have as set of rules of worship that are so ingrained in it. People take these rules as divine.
Religion dictates people’s life and therefore its influence in behavior formation is evident in day-to-day life. Religious influence on behavior traverses all aspects of life. Most Catholics would not procure an abortion, as it is against their religious convictions. Muslims, especially extremist, will voluntarily involve themselves in behavior that spread terror because of they believe that they will go to heaven if they die in the name of religion.
Society, culture and religion play a very important role in behavior formation, which leads to formation of specific behaviors in people. Behavior formation is a deliberate effort. People have free choice, and therefore, they form behavior freely without any force used. Sometime, behavior formation can occur unconsciously.
People may unconsciously imitate certain behaviors they see in other people. A person behavior is a reflection of personal ethics and beliefs. People form behavior based on acceptable ethics. People behave as they are convicted. Personal ethics are formed because of a prolonged exposure to various cultures in different social and religious setting. Therefore, personal ethics and behavior formational are reciprocal. They help form each other.
Bargh, J., Chen, M. & Burrows, L. (1996). Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action. Journal of personality and social psychology. Web.
Russell-Devaney, M. (2010). How much does culture and lifestyle affect behavior? Helium social sciences. Web.
Rivers, C. (2010). The impact of religion on human behavior. Helium social sciences. Web.