Understanding Human Behaviour Theories

University: ITCM College London

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It is very difficult to understand human behaviour. This is because human being change their behaviour according to situation. Human behaviour is the response of individual to internal or external stimuli (Hillson and Murray-Webster, 2017).The behaviour of humans is influenced by several factors such as culture, values and beliefs. Besides this, personality and traits is also an important element in this. There are various mystery involved in understanding human behaviour. This report will throw light on several theories that is given by scholars and psychiatrist. Also, it will reflect on evaluating theories on basis of human aspect.

John Bowlby

He gave theory related to children. The theory was based in attachment of children with their parents. In this theory he observed that children experience distress when they are separated from their mothers. Also, it showed that attachment can be characterised according to the behaviour of children (Daly and Wilson, 2017) A child is always connected to her mother in social, emotional and cognitive way. This creates a link between them. He further developed stages of development.

  • Pre attachment- in this infants acts in such a way that attracts adults such as crying, smiling,, etc. (John Bowlby,2018).
  • Attachment in making-They began to develop sense of trust in their mothers.
  • Clear cut attachment- In this stage attachment is established. Infant prefers to be with mother than anyone else.
  • Formation of reciprocal relationship- Infant understands about situation. A sense of security is developed in them when their mother is not around.

Attachment theory – it was developed by bowlby. In this he suggested that attachment is a set of learned behaviour. But the base for this is food. Children will always get attached first to the person who will feed him. Usually it includes mother that feed child. Then, infant learn to get associate with mother (Blake, McAuliffe and Wrangham, 2015) This will begin the process of classical conditioning. In addition to this, there are certain changes that occurs in behaviour such as crying, smiling, etc. It brings responses from others. Thus, by going through the process of operant conditioning infant learn to repeat those behaviours. Besides this there are three attachment styles that are secure, anxious avoidant insecure and anxious resistant insecure. This shows how attachment is formed at different levels.

But on the other hand, other theory of attachment states that children come into this world to form attachments. They are already prepared for this. Infant build social relation to develop behaviour such as crying and smiling. So it is concluded that attachment is developed by care not by food. Bowlby also stated that child only form one attachment and that help in exploring the world and surviving (Rodríguez and Calvo-Flores, 2014) This one attachment acts as prototype for all social relationship in the future. So if this attachment is disrupted it can lead to major consequences. At last it shows that there is a specific period for forming this attachment that is 0-5 years. The child may have reduced intelligence if attachment is not developed in this period.

Mary Ainsworth- Strange situation

Mary Ainsworth designed a structure to measure the quality of attachment. In this 8 stages was included that described showed relationship between mother and child (Mary ainsworth, 2016) The 8 stages are given below :-

  • Stage 1 – Mother and child enter the playroom
  • Stage 2 – The child is encouraged to explore
  • Stage 3 – Stranger enters and attempts to interact
  • Stage 4 – Mothers leaves while the stranger is present
  • Stage 5 – Mother enters and the stranger leaves
  • Stage 6 – Mothers leaves
  • Stage 7 – Stranger returns
  • Stage 8 – Mother returns and interacts with the child

From the above, it was found that there are three attachment styles. These are secure, insecure avoidant and insecure ambivalent. These styles description is as follows :-

Secure attachment- In this children are full of confidence and highly attached to their mothers. This helps in fulfilling their needs (Koelsch, Jacobs and Gebauer, 2015) In this infants develops a strong attachment when their needs are fulfilled.

Insecure avoidant – in this children are independent both physically and emotionally. They do not seek to have contact with attachment figure when distressed. These types of children are very insensitive and their needs are rejected by parents. Due to this they highly get emotionally distressed.

Insecure resistant – Here , child develops an uncertain behaviour towards the attachment. This is because of the surroundings. When they are in distress they are not comfortable in interacting. This behaviour results in inconsistent level of response to their needs.

This is concluded from strange situation that child attachment will be depend on how their mothers react or behave with them (Almeida, Rossetti and Coelho, 2017) Also, it depends on mother behaviour. There are two points in this :-

  • First sensitive mother will respond in smooth way. They are more likely to have a very close attachment to children. There will be secure attachment between them. Child will develop positive thinking and will be helpful to others.
  • On the contrary, mother who are less sensitive will respond in negative way. Their child will be impatient. There will be an insecure attachment between them. In this there will be risk of social or emotional behavioural problems.

Dollard and Miller

They both developed theories related to the personality of humans. It was based on Clark L. hull learning theory (Gwynne and Hulse, 2017) They showed learning process by using a S- R model of mental processes. According to Dollard and Miller human behaviour occurs in cues. A cue may be any stimuli.

  • Response hierarchy and learning – It means change in response due to learning. In this learning occurs in four way that are drive, cue, response and reinforcement. A drive may be stimulus such as hunger. If drive is reduced the reinforcement will occur. Reinforcement is the connection between cue and response (Dollard and Miller,2018).It concludes that drive will force people to learn. The cue must lead to get some reward as reinforcement.
  • Role of drives – There are some primary drives such as hunger, thirst, etc. that are inborn. They occur naturally and force to learn. For example- a person may feel hungry when he sees his favourite food even he has already eaten (Safa and Herawan, 2015) These drives are known as secondary drives. Another example is pain. It encourages person to act, thus any response that will reduce this will be reinforced.
  • Cue responses- A cue may result in occurrence of new cue. It means that what one learn in a situation will occur in similar situation. It is known as stimulus generalisation.
  • Social role of learning – In this miller and dollard showed how to understand human behaviour. For this they must know the process of learning. This will help in finding out social conditions under which learning was gained (Grossmann, Brienza and Bobocel, 2017). Also, human learning can vary from social to inter personnel context. One example is limitation. It means copying of other behaviour.
  • Psychoanalytic approach to neurosis- In this S r model was applied. It showed that how neurosis is characterised into three categories that is misery, stupidity and symptoms. Misery is related to conflicts. Stupidity refers to fact that conflicts that results in misery are unconscious. At last symptoms are phobias, hysteria, etc. that arise when is in state of conflict produced misery. This creates a feeling of fear among them.
  • Therapeutic techniques - In S R this technique leads to new learning. It is because in order to solve conflict new learning are required (Daly and Wilson, 2017). Therefore, one technique that is available for this is psychoanalysis. In this associations are directly instructs patients to their consciousness. Another technique that is available is transference. In this patients express their feelings to therapist.
  • Behavioural approach – thus, it is concluded from S R theory that mental process arises by associating cues and responses.

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From this report it is concluded that behaviour of human depend in situation. It changes from time to time. The behaviour of human is influenced by several factors such as culture, values and beliefs. Human behaviour is affected by several factors. This brings change in their mental health. Also, it is said that child is always connected to her mother in social, emotional and cognitive way. This is concluded from strange situation that child attachment will be depend on how their mothers react or behave with them. Also, it depends on mother behaviour. Hence, it is behaviour of child will mostly be dependent on his mother. At last it is concluded that it is very difficult to understand human behaviour.

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  • Almeida, J.E., Rossetti, R.J., and Coelho, A.L., 2017. Serious games for the human behaviour analysis in emergency evacuation scenarios. Cluster Computing, 20(1), pp.707-720.
  • Blake, P.R., McAuliffe, K., and Wrangham, R., 2015. The ontogeny of fairness in seven societies. Nature, 528(7581), p.258.
  • Daly, M. and Wilson, M., 2017. Homicide: Foundations of human behavior. Routledge.
  • Grossmann, I., Brienza, J.P. and Bobocel, D.R., 2017. Wise deliberation sustains cooperation. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(3), p.0061.
  • Gwynne, S.M.V., and Hulse, L.M., 2017. Modelling and influencing human behaviour in fire. Fire and Materials, 41(5), pp.412-430.
  • Hillson, D. and Murray-Webster, R., 2017. Understanding and managing risk attitude. Routledge.
  • Koelsch, S., Jacobs, A.M., and Gebauer, G., 2015. The quartet theory of human emotions: an integrative and neurofunctional model. Physics of life reviews, 13, pp.1-27.
  • Rodríguez, N.D., and Calvo-Flores, M.D., 2014. A fuzzy ontology for semantic modelling and recognition of human behaviour. Knowledge-Based Systems, 66, pp.46-60.
  • Safa, N.S., and Herawan, T., 2015. Information security conscious care behaviour formation in organizations. Computers & Security, 53, pp.65-78.
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