People are subjected to different factors which encircle them. Scientists share an opinion that it is impossible to be free from the environment a human being lives. The term “environment” in general stands for all things that surround a person. It may be objects, other people and everything that can be perceived by the five senses of perception. Psychology defines this notion from a slightly different point of view. Environment is the surroundings in which a personality grows up and develops. Numerous factors form environment: family, friends, mass media, place of work, studying, culture, language, traditions, communication and other elements. These aspects should be taking into consideration while examining the role of environment in life. The paper analysis in detail the fact that environment determines human behaviour and performance.
Environment and human behaviour are two connected elements. Things one does are confined by the environment one acts in. To some extend, people behave themselves according to how others expect them to behave, and in a way that depends on what kinds of behaviour may be found in the environment. Environment influences human behaviour in different ways. It should be underlined that it is in nature of a human being to copy the behaviour of other people. It is how we learn and experience life. A tendency to copy and behave like others do may be a contributing factor in establishing the influence of mass media upon people.
The power of mass media to affect people is often underestimated. Albert Bandura and his colleagues have conducted an experiment that shows how violent acts may be dictated by the real life events and the virtual world interference. The theory that people fall under the influence of mass media has been tested on the most vulnerable individuals, which are children. They learn to behave by observing the patterns of behaviour of other people. This notion is known as social learning. In order to illustrate the influence of mass media, ninety-six children took part in the experiment of Bandura. The participants of the test were exposed to manifestations of aggressive behaviour in filmed and live models. The results of the experiment prove that behaviour can be influenced by observing violent acts (Brace, 2012, 117). We may conclude that the observation of violence is followed by violent behavior. According to Brace, “exposure to media violence, either in films, on television or in computer games, is regularly cited as a possible factor causing violent behaviour in the real world” (Brace, 2012, 105). It also should be noticed that mass media influences each individual differently. We can not be definite in saying that social learning is subjected to disseminating violence, particularly by mass media, because it plays a great role in establishing the norms of behaviour as well. Some people are more exposed to it then other. This is because individual factors and the level of self-consciousness of every person. This is the evidence that factors other than environment are also important.
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Environment is a complex notion and it includes some personal issues which influence human behaviour. Friendship is a key factor. Psychological researches were made in order to discover the role of friendship in human behaviour. Friendship may be defined as an act of two or more people doing something together and enjoying the company of each other. In this case feeling and emotions among people are the main elements which determine the meaning of friendship. This specific kind of a human relation that differs much, for an instance, from one which parents and children have, plays an important role in human development and behaviour.
The first studies of friendship in the 1970s were carried out by Brian Bigelow and John La Gaipa. Children’s friendship has been the subject of studies. Scientists suggest that friendship experience influences the way people behave. Sometimes friends push the boundaries on the settled norms of behavior in order to explore various aspects of life. However, Kim McLeod has focused her attention on smoking behaviour and the influence of friendship on this aspect. Using the method of interview of twins, she discovered that “different friendship groups of the twin pairs reflected the twins’ decision to be a smoker or not” (Brace, 2012, 257). Kim McLeod thinks that our close surrounding determines who we are and how we behave, along with the habits we have. The greater influence is found among people who are of the same age, or who have the same type of job, and social class.
An important study was conducted by Yorkys Gonzáles. He and his colleagues have concentrated the attention on how culture influences friendship. The results of the research show that our understanding of friendship and its meaning is shaped by a culture we belong to. In some cultures a friend has a bigger role than in others. This is established by such notions as individualism and collectivism which illustrate cultural differences and have an influence on human behaviour (Brace, 2012, 257). For example, in the written description of a friend, the Cubans pay more attention to the close relations among people, while Canadians focus on the common interests. This inspires thoughts that a concept of a “friend” is never the same in two cultures. People may see a soul mate in a friend, or a partner. The emotional closeness defines the level of influence friends have upon each other. The closer friend is the more patterns of behaviour he or she dictates.
In modern society technologies show new ways that friendship may take place in life. Thanks to the internet, people now are able to communicate on a distance. What is more, a mixture of sites presents opportunities for people from different cultures to interact. The “online environment” has absorbed people all over the word and connected them. We can talk now about “global friendship” that by means of sharing different views, interests, experiences influences people more, than they can possibly be aware of. The temptation to become acquainted with something new is followed by establishing new patterns of behaviour. English, being a global language, helps to connect various pieces of cultures which results in spreading some positive aspects along with the negative ones. People express themselves in conversations online. They may show their anger, or verbally attack the interlocutor. Also, they can learn things together, discover something. This recommends that online communication is a part of environment that has its advantages and disadvantages, but it definitely influences the way people behave.
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Environment plays a role in human behaviour and performance. By the term “performance” we understand the act of doing something, the ability to do and the way people do this. To a great deal, performance depends upon the work of our brain. Scientists support the statement, in accordance to which, the brain “forms the basis of our thought processes and behaviour” (Brace, 2012, 288) and the basis of the cognitive process. To a great extend, the reason for this is identified with the ability of the brain to use language (produce and percept it). Special regions of the brain (Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas) work together and contribute to language. This idea is illustrated with the evidences of the change of behaviour patterns and the use of language in cases when an area of the brain is damaged. A person can loose the ability to speak after he or she has suffered an injury of the brain. Different techniques are involved in studying the role of the right and the left hemispheres of the brain. The understanding that the two halves coordinate the work of the body gives a possibility to cure injured patients and improve their behaviour. The unpleasant circumstances of the partial lost of functioning create special environment around a person. In the process of recovery the notion that in case the speech problems are located in the right half of the brain the left half should be encouraged to take control. A patient may be asked to point with left hand and try to utter expressions. This activates the right hemisphere and spreads the speech abilities of the brain (Brace, 2012, 316). We may figuratively present environment as the sets of a person’s life which define the performance. In this case, it is obvious that a person can not completely overstep the limits of environment.
The analyzed examples and given evidences confirm the statement that environment influences human behaviour and performance. Thus, we may conclude that such specific factors as media, friendship, the brain and language may determine the behaviour and performance. Environment manifests itself differently: friendship is an environment is which an individual develops; mass media may be the source of violence that affects the minds of people by contributing the brutal ideas; brain damages can disable a person to perform properly. Aspects of personality, circumstances can prove differently. Some people are less subjected to the influence of environment than other, but everyone is developed in a special environment that modifies the rules of behaviour and the ways of human performance.