Zeitgeist Information A Zeitgeist Movement general information site

20Feb/110

New Critical Thinking vids

Believe Nothing

Critical Thinking

Have you come across any other good videos that should be shown? Let us know!

26Jan/115

Factors Affecting Behaviour

Update: Dr Robert Sapolsky has done a TED talk which puts these factors of human behaviour into great context, focused around the timeframes with which they have an effect. Check it out

Below is an edited comment of what I posted to http://tacsi.org.au/family-by-family-prototype-week-1/
For the last few years I've had an active interest in Human Behaviour.
I've spent hundreds of hours hours reading books, watching recorded uni lectures (in psychology, neuro-biology and the like), some awesome TED talks, audiobooks, white papers, general social analysis and lots of conversations. From all of that I've noticed there are a range of factors affecting peoples behaviour.
In approximate order they are :
  1. Situation [Role] - The current situation the person is in. e.g being in a prison vs being at an office, a pool party or walking past a house on fire. Special mention should be given to 'normal' social situations and crisis situations.
  2. Environment [Resources] - Beyond just the situation, this is what resources someone has access to, e.g if you can already hear the fire fighters sirens, if it is dark and the guards aren't looking, or if there are nice windows with trees to look out at when stressed.
  3. Habits [Triggered/Automatic Responses] - Habits are usually those things which you do without really thinking about anymore. BJ Fogg lists this as the BluePath, doing a familiar behaviour from now on. An example might be brushing your teeth before you go to bed. At some point you had to learn the habit, but now you do the behaviour almost instinctively.
  4. History [Knowledge and experience] - How/Have you been trained to deal with the situation? Have you been in a similar situation, what did you do and did it work?
  5. Perspective [Time, Beliefs] - What is your Time Perspective (past positive/negative, present headonistic, deterministic, future oriented, afterlife). What is your religious and moral beliefs. Do you align yourself to an emo, punk, hippy, military or some other stereotype? This is very similar to the cultural expectations, but regarding the specific sub-group to the general culture.
  6. Culture [Expectations] - What the general expectations are for a person in that situation and environment. If your sub-group hasn't specified what it's stance is, then what is generally considered morally justified? Stopping CPR on the random homeless guy on the street after 4mins might be seen as fine, whilst stopping CPR after 20mins on a child who's drowned in a pool might cause outrage.
  7. Emotions [Mood] - Was the person happy or sad at the time?
  8. Hormones [Emotional propensity] - If you are a teenage male you are likely to have a surge in testosterone which will amplify the likelyhood of aggression (assuming the situation is one that involves violence or aggression). This can be thought of as shortening the 'fuse' so to speak. Pregnant women can be particularly susceptible to stress and may become even more irritable due to lack of food than normal... Drugs can also have a similar although usually more profound but short lived effect.
  9. Pre-natal [How birth affected you] - Humans are far more susceptible to conditioning during birth than most people realise. When your mother was pregnant with you, if she was heavily stressed then it can have negative consequences. If she was obese then you are more likely to be obese { http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNjlcGikW_0 }. A child after birth also needs the right amount of care and attention. They need to be held and touched and talked to.
  10. Genetics [Physical propensity] - There is barely a 0.5% difference in genetic material between humans and we are only 4-6% genetically different from apes. Our DNA is 90% similar to cats. Given such similarity it is generally said that genetics can cause a propensity for a particular behaviour or physical attribute, but it is the environment which which has the most impact. { http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25335 }

Different circumstances will mean the resulting behaviour is influenced by the factors above in differing amounts. Whilst normally the situation and environment will be the most influential  a strong enough culture and belief can over-ride that. If you want to change peoples behaviour you need to work out which are the most important factors involved or which other factors can over-ride those and you can try to change or at least deal with them.

An example is the selfish-gene concept. That humans are simply a mechanism by which genes can make a copy of themselves. Whilst this may be the default behaviour of people it is not the absolute only factor which affects our behaviour. Another important thing to note is that the concept of our 'kin' or family is very important in many cases. Who are people that we should help and be around, versus those that are against us. Our understanding of kin has grown larger over time, from immediate family to village, group (e.g religious group or work colleges) to nations and at the present rate will soon encompass the world. Doing so helps reduce the violence within our species. We will likely need to expand kin to include other animals and should we meet friendly alien entities it may have to include even them.

I do have a question. Are morals another factor which affect behaviour? Or are they a product of a combination of the above factors?

For a quick overview of social thinking, including the Stanford Prison Experiment, check out the video below :

If you enjoyed the above then some resources that may be of interest include :

More in depth resources :

Name : Human Behavioral Biology by Dr Robert Sapolsky.

There's plenty of other resources. If would like like more please comment below or email michael@zeitgeist-info.com

NB : Added Habits above History. Because habits can be done without thinking they are more than just memory recall they almost like muscle memory.. if you could call it that. - 7th Jan 2012

Note : Knowing that there is a different way of doing something and changing peoples values and mindset is one of the most important but usually hardest steps when moving forward.

14Jan/110

[ZM Projects] Project Points

I've put up a little post on the Zinfo projects site if people are interested.

http://projects.zeitgeist-info.com/2011/01/14/project-points/

I'd love to get some feedback about the idea.

Cheers!

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