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To What Extent is Human Behavior determined by society?

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To What Extent is Human Behavior determined by society? Human Behavior, or how humans act and behave in regards and relation to theirs surroundings, is determined mainly through two factors. These factors are natural and environmental. Natural determination is defined as the determination of human behavior through inherited characteristics and more specifically, genetics. On the other hand, environmental determination is the determination of human behavior through interaction with the environment and the surroundings e.g. through socialization. In a few cases, it is fair to argue that human behavior is determined entirely by nature. People suffering from Down's syndrome and other similar diseases have a better than 99.99% correlation between having the identified gene and having the disease. Because of the way in which the syndrome affects the behavior of those afflicted with it, it can be said that it does indeed have a knock-on effect on how they behave overall. This clearly shows beyond a doubt that some aspects of human behavior, especially in the case of those with genetically-inherited disease, are completely due to nature. On the other hand, the fact that some but not all humans are more willing to commit murder/ mass murder than others shows that human behavior is to an extent socially determined. ...read more.


Henceforth, it is possible that although skin color is naturally determined, it does not cause or play a role in human behavior- and instead is used by society. Intelligence plays a major role in human behavior. It can be argued that intelligence is determined by nature and not by society. The main proponent of this theory is Francis Galton, who, through his observations of how families with gifted individuals produced gifted offspring, concluded that "intelligence must be bred, not trained". This is entirely possible, mainly because of the fact that humans do inherit many aspects naturally (e.g. eye color, blood type). Galton's theory ultimately led to the formation of what is known now as "Eugenics" or how selective breeding of humans could assist in the speeding-up of natural selection. Because families with gifted individuals, as shown through Galton's research, produced gifted offspring, it is possible to conclude that intelligence and in turn some aspects of human behavior are naturally determined. It is also possible to say that society plays a greater role in determining intelligence, which in turn determines human behavior. It is entirely possible that a child in a family with no gifted individuals could be gifted- as shown by a study conducted in the 1950's in which individuals from such families scored higher in IQ tests than those from supposedly "gifted" families. ...read more.


Besides this, the moodiness experienced by humans undergoing puberty, as well as pre-menstrual syndrome, in which human behavior fluctuates, shows that natural factors do play a role in determining human behavior. On the other hand, the lab rat experiment is questionable, mainly because the biology of rats is significantly different from humans, and secondly, because humans themselves consume testosterone without such drastic swings in behavior. This suggests that what is currently seen as hormone-triggered changes in human behavior could have social undercurrents. Human behavior itself is a highly complex topic. In some instances, as seen with hormones and also genetically inherited diseases, it is completely due to natural circumstances and events. In other instances, certain types of human behavior is caused by social conditioning and socialization e.g. compliance with the law and the observance of norms and values. In some unusual cases, it is determined by nature and society, working hand-in-hand, or sometimes one after the other to cause a change in such behavior. To judge this issue in terms of absolutes would be unjustified. Exactly in what way human behavior is developed depends on both society and on nature- and in many cases either society or nature is more dominant. However, it is clear that human behavior overall is shaped by a blend of both natural and social factors and issues, from genetic inheritance to socio-economic class. ?? ?? ?? ?? Edwin Loo 12K 19/09/2006 Sociology Homework/Essay Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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