The First Determinant Of Behavior Essay

The First Determinant Of Behavior Essay

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While the range of human behavior is complex and impressively varied, behavior can be described by employing the above equation that simplifies its central components. The first determinant of behavior is an individual’s self-concept. Self-concept is defined as the sum of emotion and the interaction between cognition and consistency. The second determinant of behavior is the environment. These environmental stimuli can reach the individual on both a conscious and subconscious level. Combined, these factors can begin to account for and predict human behavior.
Self-concept is distinctly effected by both positive and negative emotion which, in turn, have clear influences on behavior. For instance, inducing a positive mood makes an individual more likely to be persuaded and deviate from their normal behavioral pattern (Petty, Schumann, Richman & Strathman, 1993). Negative emotion, such as fear, also can pointedly inspire action (Leventhal, 1970; Leventhal, Meyer & Nerenz, 1980; Cameron & Leventhal, 1995). Emotional appeals to an individual are more influential than logical appeals (Hartmann, 1936), emphasizing that emotion plays a prominent role in determining our self-concept and therefore, in determining behavior.
Self-concept is also encompasses the interaction between cognition and consistency. Cognitions include beliefs and biases that are often formed while attempting to conserve cognitive energy. Humans are cognitive misers that create shortcuts and simplifying complex situation in an effort at efficiency (Fiske & Taylor, 1991). Individuals also attempt efficiency through expedited comparisons to immediately available information (Kenrick & Gutierres, 1980; Marsh, Kong & Hau, 2000; Thorton & Maurice, 1997). Consequently, the...


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... reality (Festinger, 1954), but also because of their perceptions of other people in an environment (Aronson & O’Leary, 1982-1983). While the above factors of an environment reach an individual consciously, there are other environmental factors that take effect at a subconscious level.
Accessing the subconscious is a surprisingly effective process of idea transfer from the environment to the individual. One method used to alter behavior is to change the cognitions of an individual through priming (Bargh, Chen & Burrows, 1996). Subtle priming is effective in many ways (Higgins, Rholes & Jones, 1977) including altering one’s attitudes towards situations and people (Thornton & Maurice, 1997). As discussed previously, the attitudinal changes caused by priming can effect both the beliefs themselves and the attitude accessibility, which then impacts behavior. CONCLUSION

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