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Literature & Language
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Behaviour and Environment (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

Purpose The aim of this assignment is to get you thinking more deeply about the relationship between humans and their environment. As a starting point, reflect on the following contentious statement: Humans, in general, merely react to their environmental context. Assignment Brief Develop a response to the above statement, considering how theories or perspectives discussed in the unit inform your response. Film (or find footage of) an example of the human-environment interaction and use it to illustrate the main points in your perspective. Finally, explore the implications of the perspective that you have taken in your argument. In Detail After considering your overall perspective on the above statement, your primary task in this assignment is to construct an argument that conveys this perspective, framed in terms of the video footage that you collect for the assignment. Your secondary task is to explore the issues or implications raised by the perspective you express in your argument. That is, you must come to a clear perspective on the topic, relaying this through analysis of your film, with a view to exploring the wider issues and implications of your perspective. This should all be done within 1,000 words. As a starting point to working out your overall perspective, you might consider rephrasing the statement as a question: ???do humans merely react to their environments???? In answering this question, identify what reasoning is involved in your response (is it an intuitive response, based on your own experiences? Elaborate on this. Is it informed by what you??

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Content:

Behavior and Environment
Name
Institution
Introduction
The environment, which constitutes everything that surrounds an individual, has an impact on someone’s behavior in one way or another. Some scientists believe and suggest that behavior is influenced genetically as behavior is passed down from one generation to another. This is explained in theory of evolution (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 1997).
Environmental psychology is a discipline that is related to the psychological needs of man and values that relate to psychology. This is the study of the relationship between the environment and the behavior of humans (Arkkelin & Veitch, 1995). The environment, in this context, is defined in a broader and more natural way where all aspects of the environment are interrelated. The aspects of the environment include the social settings, informational environments and various other environments that form the full spectrum of the environment.
However, at the end, genetics do not matter since it is the environmental factors that determine the behavior of individuals. Genes that an individual possesses may make it more likely to incline to a particular behavior but it would not make someone do things until the favorable environmental conditions are in place. Some environmental factors that have the capacity of influencing the behavior of an individual include the cultural and social patterns. A person’s behavior may also be influenced by his or her past experiences (Stewart, 2007).
Environmental Physiology utilizes various view points of human psychology to make out the relationship between the environment and human behavior and the relationship between environment and experience. There are various theories that have been borrowed from various disciplines to explain the relationship and they include the arousal theories and the stimulus load theories.
Video footage
A video footage extracted from a home video borrowed from a friend was used for the assignment and the relationship between the environment and the individual. The five minutes footage is shot in a sitting area where teenagers are busy playing computer games and some listening to some music in their iPods and Mp4 players. Oblivious of what was going on around them they continue with having fun and get engrossed in their activities.
It is then that an old man in the neighborhood realizes that one of his snakes that he kept as a pet was missing in its cage. The snake that was missing was a black mamba, one of the deadliest snakes known. Back in the house, the teenagers were having fun and had no idea of any impending dangers. At a point in the footage, the black mamba is seen entering the room and sliding through the smooth floor where the more than twenty teenagers resided.
The snake moved across the whole room without being noticed but when one teenager moves his leg to secure a more comfortable position on the floor, accidentally steps on the snake and causes it to strike back by piercing its sharp teeth into the boy’s heel. What follows is a sharp squeal from the boy as he cries in pain. It is then that the other boys realize that there was a snake in the house. At the same moment, the owner of the snake walks in to discover that he would soon be in trouble for being careless with his deadly pets.
Humans, in general, merely react to their environmental context
Stimulus Load theories
The reason why the teenagers were so unaware of the impending danger that formed part of their environmental context was because of the amount of distractions that are associated with modern life. The video games and the iPods and other form of distractions took most of their time and attention. Stimulus load theories differ from the arousal theories in that it emphasizes on the limit in the ability of individuals to process data (Garling, 1993).
The teenager’s attention was captured by the many distractions of life with technology. This limited their ability to process the necessary information required to notice the snake and avoid the incident. Someone’s attention is required for stimuli and optimum performance. When an individual pays attention to what needs his or her concentration, then the major task becomes vital and the stimulus performance starts to advance. On the other hand, however, when an individual concentrates on irrelevant stimulus, then the expected performance falls below the expected levels. It is however true to say that the environments surrounding an individual may either negatively or positively affect the relevance of attention.
Furthermore, when an individual’s ability to react to a stimulus is exhausted, it would only take little effort or the smallest distraction to psychologically overwhelm the desire. The stimulus load theories therefore assess the relationship between the environment and performance.
Another aspect that can be derived from this footage is that of the features of the environment. The nature of the environment which the teenagers were in was not that which is frequently associated with the presence of snakes or other harmful animals if any at all. No one anticipated the presence of such a creature in the house and therefore no one could have prepared for it. Their behavior was therefore inclined to that which is expected in any other peaceful home.
The culture and social patterns of the teenagers also dictated their behavior (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 1997). They were in an era whereby the iPods, computers and other gadgets made part of or most of their daily lives. Today’s teenagers in the first world countries or those that come from well off families tend to own such gadgets which tend to take most of their time and form a great destruction from their desired activities and chores.
Implications
It is evident that current technologies that come in the form of iPods, iPads, computers and other electronic accessories form a big part of the distractions in the environment. This may be driven by the need to fit in a certain class of people which is influenced by social pressures or expectations in the society. Every teenager wants to be associated with his or her fellow teenagers and this causes them to want to own such gadgets.
This means that the modern population is highly susceptible to the external forces such as the expectations of a certain age group or class. Teenagers, for example, may be expected to own such gadgets so as to match up with their peers. This could be an expectation as well as a way of attainin...
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