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Behavioral Science is a field of study that is focused on evaluating the impact of the environment on our behavior. Being the study of the institutions and functioning of the human society, it is concerned with understanding, predicting, and controlling the behaviors that evolve as a result of interpersonal relationship. Even though several disciplines are constituted in behavioral science, there are those that have an overwhelming impact on our past and present behavior. These disciplines include education, anthropology, political science, sociology, and psychology. When working in these areas, researchers focus on the human behavior to examine the way it influences and is influenced by the needs and conduct of others in the society.
Application of science of behavior such as in pooling which is done in marketing and political surveys have helped predict the human behavior. The application also helps in testing the achievement, ability, and personality. Environment is a broad term which means all external factors that affect an individual. These factors may be natural, like the forests, lakes, and mountain rages; social, like the people we live with; or manmade, for example, technology. Natural factors are further divided into two broad categories biotic and abiotic factors. Biotic factors include all living things. I chose to regard influence by the fellow human beings as social influence. Abiotic factors are all nonliving variables that affect the way people behave, and include temperature, day length, rainfall, ocean currents, and wind.
Natural environment shapes our behavior by defining our eating habits, mode of dressing, and housing. For example, living in extremely cold environment like Siberia necessitates people to wear thick clothes and build less spacious houses. Living on an island makes people have the tendency to like eating sea food. In regions with hot climate like the Middle East, people shelter themselves from the daytime heat mostly by remaining in doors. Since there are limited activities indoors, most of them sleep. They end up adopting a sleeping habit that requires them to go to bed during day time when the sun is so hot. This is among the reasons why night time life in the Arab world is very vibrant.
Social environment determines our ethical codes which influence the way we think, talk, and relate with others in the society. In urban areas where there are mixtures of cultures, a hybrid mode of behavior evolves. This evolved behavior cannot be attributed to any specific culture. Some cultures, for example, require that when people meet, they have to greet each other; and there are some standards that define how the greetings proceed. In most cases, this does not happen in the urban areas because some people may consider it as being intrusive. Moreover, when we evaluate the world religious practices, we realize that the religious beliefs of people are influenced by where they are born and brought up. For example, most Europeans are Christians while most Indians are Buddhist; most Spaniards are Roman Catholics while most Britons are Anglicans.
Manmade objects have a great influence on our conduct. They influence our movements, leisure, work, and working duration. Before transportation had evolved to the way it is today, people used to travel long distances on rare occasions. Nowadays, people travel around the world with ease. This efficiency in travel made people, especially from richer societies, to form a culture of tourism. Tourism ends up making far distant cultures meet. Another influential manmade factor is the Information Technology, and especially the computers.
Mental health professionals argue that spouses’ preoccupation with home computers increases marital stress and rate of divorce. Again, a computer obsessed spouse becomes unresponsive, withdrawn, and sometimes becomes impatient with the other members of the family. He is influenced by the computer to think that people must also readily obey brusque commands Thomas McDonald, a psychologist, believes that the problem arises due to the conflict between the imperfect people and the computer, which is supposedly perfect. Philip Zimbardo, a professor at Stanford University, argue that the youth who suffer from shyness have the greatest possibility of becoming computer addicted. Their success in the use of computers gives them self confidence that is deficient in their social lives. Whenever these youth become computer addicts, they miss the learning and practice of vital social skills that they may require in their later life.
The influence of studies on behavior
Education is a system that involves formal learning and teaching and is conducted in institutions such as preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Education has a great influence on our lives. Presently children start schooling at an early age denying the opportunity to spend more time with their parents and other family members. A school term takes longer than the duration of vacation making the children become detached with their homes. Schooling has other advantages in addition to attaining good grades that enable someone to proceed. One of these benefits is social; where the children are able to have new friends, some of whom remain close for the rest of their lives. In the industrialized world, it becomes a challenge to make lifelong friends roughly after the age of 35, approximately the same age that most people start to settle down after school.
Colleges and universities are the institutions that mould a person’s life to a greater extent. These are the schooling institutions attended by mature people. Presently, real adult socialization and personal freedom starts at these colleges and universities. They are institutions attended by people from all over the world, resulting into further cultural exchanges. People start to specialize in areas of study and make steps that shape their later lives. In colleges, people choose the fields of study that they like and this greatly influence learners’ future engagements because they preoccupy and stick in their minds. Most courses take duration of several years, some up to seven years. However, there are others that take shorter periods.
Preoccupation results from the extended duration of intense study which locks out other skills and ideas making people develop a conditioned behavior. This is why it is evident that a doctor behaves like doctors, a teacher like teachers, and a businessperson like business people. As people undertake further studies, their confidence in the subject field increases while sureness in others diminishes. This reduces the likelihood of a person shifting to other careers. The career becomes a part of him/her. Taking a course like tourism helps someone acquire a significant amount of information leading to efficient service delivery. This induces love for the subject area as an individual labors to enhance proficiency. The result is that all activities that one engages in bear close relationship to what the individual studied in college or graduate school.
A tourism student develops a liking to travel to top tourist destinations in the world. The student also feels at home when talking to people in the field of tourism, and his/her social circles evolve around the field of tourism. They relate well as they have too much in common to talk about. Eventually, there are high chances of meeting the future spouse in the field where the individual works. This is why; most doctors marry medical practitioners, teachers marry teachers, journalist marries journalist, and so on (Johnson 1993, 23). If the person chooses to invest, the general trend is that the investment is associated to the field of study. Most people in the tourism industry invest with tourism. They tend to run tour companies, invest in lodges, or even become tour guides. They do these with confidence, as they require little or no advice on how they ought to operate. Additionally, they know the qualities to consider, and the recruitment procedure to follow when hiring their staff.
Other behavioral influences of our areas of study include the way people talk, dress, and eat. For example, people in the tourism industry tend to develop the eating habits of the tourists. This is because of the extended periods they spend with them, thereby influencing their conduct. Observation shows that tourist influences local people’s eating habits (Northup 1993, 533). Some communities who never ate food like crabs acquired the habit of eating them from their association with the tourist. Some locals of the world’s tourism hot spots also usually dress in the usual tourists’ dressing code. This tendency is not only in the field of tourism. It is replicated in other fields of study.
Professionals in a particular field identify with it very strongly that they may influence those around them into joining them. This mostly happens in a family setting, which results into children taking courses that their parents studied. A consequence of such a situation is that diversity in a person’s habits is barred. The person ends up being defined by his career choice, and he/she has little control over his life as a totally independent individual. Eventually, the career sets the individual’s social, financial, and ethical boundaries, making him belong to the society of, for example, doctors, teachers, and so on. The ordinary norms defined by the society lose meaning or becomes secondary to those that the career set.
There are advantages of the influence that a career has on a person. One of them is that a person acquires the capability to link with other professionals from all over the world since their career norms are similar. Furthermore, productivity is enhanced as an individual become proficient with technical skills. The disadvantage is that other skills are locked out of a person’s life, and he/she loses control of life to the course.