Social Influences on Behavior
“One of the most basic topics in social psychology is the way one agent influences the behavior of another” (Hepburn & Potter, 2011, p. 99). Self-esteem, self-identity, morals, and values can determine which people and how greatly the influence of society will be to each individual (Velden, 2007). Social pressure is shown in conformity, compliance, and obedience (Renner, Morrisey, Mae, Feldman & Majors, 2011). These pressures can influence an individual into behaviors he or she would not normally partake in. Often, the actions and behaviors people take are done to ensure acceptance and avoid exclusion (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Social acceptance and approval is a basic human need and can exceed self-value (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Two examples of behaviors that can be traced to social influence are aggression and prejudice.
In the terms of social psychology, aggression can be defined by the purpose behind the behavior (Renner, Morrissey, Mae, Feldman & Majors, 2011). Aggression can be viewed as the intentional harm or injury to another person, physically, verbally or emotionally. Freud theorized that aggression was inborn primarily, or based on instinct. Further research into aggression suggests the cause may be frustration or reaction to that frustration. According to observational theories, aggression is a learned behavior with focus on reward from the aggression and the model for the behavior to the individual.
Examples of aggression and social influence can be seen in children as early as pre and primary school ages. It is not uncommon to observe one child hitting another because the second child will not play the way the first child wants. If it is discovered that the first child has an aggressive parent it could be surmised that the model for their behavior is learned at home. If the first child has seen his parent be rewarded for their aggression the behavior can be further solidified as positive to the...
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