Option A - EMA for Module DE100
Essay written by Duncan Stirton (marked 80%)
To what extent is our behaviour and performance shaped by other people?
Psychologists are interested in human behaviour, and throughout the world the nature versus nurture debate continues. Since the early days of Freud, much psychological thinking has been based on the theory that parents are the key influence on children’s development from childhood to adulthood, however, both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment) influence behaviour and performance. People are a combination of both nature and nurture; family background, social-class, friends, culture, peers, education, health, morals, religion, social beliefs; these all contribute to make people who and what they are. Whilst acknowledging the part that nature and nurture play in how human beings develop\behave, this essay will focus on how other people affect human behaviour and performance across the lifespan.
Extensive psychological research has gone into a child’s attachment and relationship to its parent\caregivers. As children grow and develop, equally important are the relationships they form with friends\peers and the influences that they can have on an individual’s behaviour. In her study with identical twins - one of whom smoked whilst the other did not - McLeod et al. (2008) found that the different circles that each twin moved in affected their decision to smoke or not. Both smokers and non-smokers talked about a sense of belonging to a particular social group, their sense of identity within the group and how shared values, social status, interests and activities influenced their choices and behaviours. An individual’s behaviour is also influenced by the culture and environment they are brought-up in. Groups can also have a powerful effect on behaviour. Most people want to “belong” and so will conform to the collective beliefs, ideals and rules of the group, in order not to be seen as an...