It is appreciated that human beings develop a certain mode of behavior from factors arising from socialization right from childhood and these follow him to adulthood. Our values, beliefs, and morals are largely influenced by the society we live in, culture, and hereditary factors. Societies have different mechanisms that are geared to re-enforcing certain behavior deemed acceptable. However, as human beings interact with each other they change their lifestyle, or are compelled to change their mode of belief whether consciously or not, a behavior modification, which in most cases conflicts with previously instilled values, occurs (Sigmund and James 28). This paper seeks to briefly focus on the circumstances that may lead to behavioral modification and the effects of the same.
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Circumstances That May Lead To Behavioral Modification
The modification may be conscious. For example, when an individual enrolls in an institution with set rules and guidelines, they are unconditionally required to follow those rules. Similarly, in society, there are laws that are required to be followed, without question and institutions are set up to ensure that these laws are followed and that their disobedience is punished.
An example of this applies in military training camps where recruits are not given options other than strict adherence to the rules-whether or not they conflict with their personal beliefs. Right from the first day, a policy of ‘break’ (this means that the training is meant to disconnect the trainee from their norms) then ‘mould’ (this means the training is geared to instill some way of life that will henceforth be perceived as appropriate according to the job they are training to perform) finally hardening or reinforcing the developed way of life. Initially, the individual takes the behavior as an artificial or short term modification only to realize later that the behavior has become part of them and always conflicts with their own behavior. This is why, a soldier can do things in which is mistaken to just animosity overcomes them without any set rules but the fact that they want to protect what they believe in and value, clouds any sense of ‘decency’ that they held. This may be illustrated by the recurrent tribal clashes especially in Africa and racial disputes the world over (John 78).
Effects of Behavioral Modification
It leads to appreciation of other people’s values and beliefs and the need to adapt uniform behavior. At the same time, institutions cannot be effectively run if a common set of behavior is not adapted. To maintain law and order in an institution, laws and regulation to govern activities must be adopted. This call on the individual to hold a positive attitude and appreciate the new learnt set of behavior. Soldiers have an exemption to the generally accepted mode of behavior although they are guided by international war conventions. Their conducts even out of the training camp are monitored. This monitoring assists in maintaining the newly adopted sets of behavior. On the other hand a negatively taken behavioral change can form an ever ending conflict of an individual and the society, for example some soldiers are known to have brutally murdered their spouses as to them the instilled behavior was mistaken to justify their doing (Russel and Allan 42).
‘We are what we were socialized to be’ at any one time and as the saying goes ‘you can remove a man from the village but not the village from the man’, however the modern societies should give a room that can lead to a smooth behavior modification, the transformation should always be such that no party is seen as an outcast, and in case of negative unconscious modification sociologist should intervene very fast. Societal negative attitude should be adequately addressed early enough in human growth and development.
John H. Cartwright. Evolutionary explanation of human behavior. Canada: Routledge, 2001
Russell E. Harold and Allan Beigel. Understanding of human behavior for effective police work. New York: San Diego, 1990
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Sigmund Freud and James Strachey. The complete psychological work of Sigmund Freud (standard edition) vol. (1-24). New York: W.W.Norton&Company, 1976