Malcolm Gladwell

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Environmental science Pages: 4 (1365 words) Published: April 21, 2013
Interaction Between Personality and Environment
A theory that an individual’s behavior is most likely based on factors such as personal convictions, personality, or inherited genes is a common belief in nowadays’ society. This theory seems like reasonable and logical because it is quite natural that a person’s behavior follows his or her characters. Malcolm Gladwell, however, in his essay, “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime,” examines those factors affecting peoples’ behaviors and comes up with his own theory. Gladwell believes that the environmental conditions have the most significant influence on how one behaves. Throughout his essay, he presents a few different studies to help persuade the readers and to substantiate his argument. However, those cases and Gladwell’s theory are quite radical because they are only implied to certain situations, not to all circumstances and criminal cases. Even though environmental conditions have a more substantial impact on people’s behaviors, it is the interaction between personality and environment that actually determines the criminal actions. The influence that people’s immediate environment has on them is significant; people are affected by their environmental conditions more than by their previous intention. Gladwell discusses the relationship between environment or situation and an individual’s behavior in the Power of Context; that is, surroundings are closely related to a person’s character, and this theory is well applied when studying the criminals. As Gladwell insists, “[Broken Windows Theory and the Power of Context] are both based on the premise that an epidemic can be reversed, can be tipped, by tinkering with the smallest details of the immediate environment” (Gladwell 157). The outcome can be a whole different story by a simple and trivial factor. Similar to Broken Windows Theory, if one is at the place, where is dirty and depressed and has relatively...
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