Social Influence on Behavior

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Social Influence on Behavior
Gina L Claxton
March 19, 2012
Erika Redmond Ayanaw

Social Influence on Behavior
Behavior of humans in social settings is a very interesting topic of study. Why do people behave one way in public and another in private? Why do men behave one way in a setting with other men and another in a family setting with their wives and children? I think that these differences in social behavior begin at a young age and continue to develop through adulthood. I witness one aspect of this concept on a daily basis and I see that children at a very young age understand that different behavior is expected of them from different groups of people. Once the four year olds in class have been attending for a few months they truly start to show their individual personalities and exhibit learned behaviors. It is quite clear that some children are leaders and some are followers. Some are quite aggressive (usually boys) and others mostly compliant. The most interesting phenomenon that I have witnessed is one that I have named the “Jeckle and Hyde” syndrome. Not all children exhibit this behavior, but many do. While in class these children are cooperative and well mannered and conform to the expected behavior in the classroom. When their parents enter the class, they become a child that we have never seen before. It is a negative transformation that occurs. They become whining, complaining, fit throwing little aliens. It is clearly behavior that is intended to manipulate their parents into letting them behave in a way that they know is inappropriate in our class. Some children will actually make eye contact with me or the other teacher while engaging in this behavior to see what our reaction will be. We immediately let the child know that we are disappointed with this behavior. What is really interesting is to watch how the parents react to the behavior. Some will attempt to correct the child and seem embarrassed by the display. Others are...
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