How Well Do People Know Why They Do The Things They Do

2301 words - 10 pages

How well do people know why they do the things they do?


Human beings are cognitively advanced, yet it is still surprising that much of what we do we cannot explain. Humans are amongst few mammals capable of the self-recognition necessary for self-awareness which enables conscious manipulation in behaviour (Gallup, G. G., 1982). Understanding the behaviour of others and ourselves is increasingly complex since behaviour is attributed to fluctuating mental states (emotions, desires, feelings). Many papers have begun to cover the theory how people understand the causes of behaviour through attribution and self-concept ...view middle of the document...

Humans are naturally inquisitive and have been likened as “naive scientists”- we want to understand why people behave/appear as they do (Heider, 1958). Evidence from experiments emphasises this need to explain behaviour where individuals formed ‘stories’ for moving shapes. These ‘stories’ or explanations are known as attributions, they are explanations to accompany observations in behaviour (Heider & Simmel, 1994). Attributions can be ‘dispositional’ referring to stable, internal characteristics (e.g. the person IS moody) or ‘situational’ referring to temporary states/situations (e.g. the person is agitated) (Schacter, 2009).For example, people naturally justify overt behaviour (e.g. your partner doesn’t speak when meeting your parents) by assigning attributions –they didn’t speak because they’re unfriendly/ because they became nervous. These attributions are important as they are used to justify why other people do the things they do (Kelley, 1973).

However, this method of matching behaviour with attributions only answers why people behave the way they do to a certain extent, as the assigned attributions may not be objectively true. Here begins the problem of ‘correspondence bias’, that as humans we are receptive but not always accurate. We often mistake situational attributions for dispositional attributions (Schacter,2009)(Heider, 1958). A person is shy therefore doesn't talk and gives less weight to situational attributions -nerves (Ross, L. 1977). This inaccuracy in interpreting others behaviour can be problematic and perhaps highlights that we do not truthfully know why other people do the things they do.
Human brains are typically cognitive-bias; situational reasoning is less automatic than dispositional reasoning and cognitively requires more control (Hamilton, D. L. (1980). If behaviour and disposition weakly match, it is rational to infer the dispositional attribution as the cause of the behaviour. These potential errors in attribution are important as they give rise to sequential behaviour. If a person believes a friend is acting disagreeably because of an internal characteristic future interaction may be avoided (despite the unacknowledged truth of the situational attribution). People believe the attributions they assign to other’s behaviour, they falsely believe that they know why other’s act the way they do.

In order to observe our own behaviour separate of other’s, individuals must be self-aware. Self-perception theory offers the notion that like attribution theory, individuals first observe their own behaviour then conclude the causing attributions (Bem,1972). As human beings we are gifted with rich self-knowledge (Schacter, 2009). Self-awareness begins with distinguishing ourselves from our environment, understanding our thoughts and finally our capability to represent the symbolic self (Sedikides & Skowronski, 1997). In the case of an amnesia patient although she was unable to offer past experiences from...

Other assignments on How Well Do People Know Why They Do The Things They Do

Why We Do Not Do Drugs?

492 words - 2 pages . Many curious teens have died the first time they tried certain drugs, like ecstasy. Others have found their temporary escape became a permanent. Everybody knows bad things can happen to drug users. They become addicted. They can have serious or even fatal health problems. They can ruin their personal, social and professional lives. They may even end up in jail. But why do young people start taking drugs in the first place? What are the causes of drug use among young people?

How To Do? Essay

558 words - 3 pages role as a pharmacist? 2. What was the most memorable encounter with a patient? 3. What do you think is an important quality a good pharmacist should possess? 4. As the Hematology-in-charge, how do you cope with the passing of a patient? 12. 1st question change colour Black screen with white words moving from left to right “What does the Pharmacist say” + “What does the Pharmacist say” soundtrack “Question mark face 1” video Care

The Things They Carried Analysis

426 words - 2 pages “The Things They Carried” “The Things They Carried” tells about the side of war that you don’t read about in history books. The author, Tim O’Brien, does outline with great detail what the soldiers in this specific battalion carried, but in a way that you don’t normally read or see. O’Brien does list off the necessity items (can opener, pocket knife, mosquito repellant, etc.) but he also tells what each individual soldier carries because they

Why Do Some Students Do Well In School While Others Struggle To Do So?(Limit You Discussion To Secondary School Students)

471 words - 2 pages diligence which is not an easy feat. A student’s mental approach towards study, attendance in lectures, methods of learning, memorizing, concentration, confidence and study related extra-curricular activities are all vital factors that will influence his/her studies in school. This might seem like a mouthful but if the student is ingrained with the mind-set that they will do whatever it takes to do well, in a matter of time, a favourable outcome will be

How Do I Learn Best

760 words - 4 pages Learning is part of development and based on how well a person learns , may become more or less successful in life . People have preferences to different learning styles and techniques and they may favor one style or use multiple styles. There is no right or wrong mixture. You can have the ability in less dominant styles and also improve on a well develop styles that, you already use .If you recognize and understand your own learning styles

Why Do Students Go To College

432 words - 2 pages , people often have uncomfortable feeling to live with a stranger, because they do not know each other and perhaps their habit and personality are different. But for the long run, it is good for them. They have to cooperate with each other and solve a lot of problems they will face together. Gradually, they can learn how to care and understand other people. It is a preparation for students to go to cooperate with other people in the society

Why Do You Need It? South

1471 words - 6 pages public, though reputable estate agents would not expose themselves by offering a replacement cost valuation/assessment, unless they are trained and qualified to do so. More recently, insurance takers are provided with a formula to calculate the replacement cost/value themselves.The accuracy of this exercise however, is extremely questionable. Nevertheless, people generally prefer to avoid the cost of a professional valuation/assessment and tend to

Saying "I Do"

987 words - 4 pages get divorce point blank period! To be honest I don’t know why marriage is so important to me, nobody else in my family seems to have much regard, but maybe that’s the reason. I have seen so many people around me fail at marriage that it’s the one thing I want to do right. I want to make sure I’m marrying the right person, for the right reasons, at the right time. Marriage is a promise, a promise I intend to keep.

A Can Do Attitude

479 words - 2 pages References Heston, W. (2012, June 5/6). Loving a Challenge “Can-Do" Attitude Provides a Wealth of Success. The Navy Supply Corps Newsletter, pp. 45-46. A “can-do” attitude provides a Wealth of Success you never know what you can do until you try. Here is an article about a man with a lot of determination his name is Heston Wong he was in the Navy and started out fixing F14 aircraft and he just wasn’t fond with fixing aircraft so he

I Didn’T Do It

2773 words - 12 pages live and train, and eat and drink in the way which seems good to his single master who has understanding, rather than according to the opinion of all other men put together? Cr. True. Stan Koebel arrived back from conference and the well continued to run un-chlorinated and contaminated water had already entered the system. Stan was held ultimately responsible. In the dialogue “Crito”, Plato states that people who live in a society

What Would You Do

328 words - 2 pages . Patients enjoy the freedom of being able to access all their pertinent medical information from all over the world. Yet, they don’t realize that many eyes are constantly watching their every move. With the freedom comes the threat of identity theft. No matter how secure a system is someone is always ahead of the game finding ways to slip through the cracks. According to Alan Paller, “there are at least 100 countries actively doing cyber-espionage (M

Similar Documents

Why Do People Lie? Essay

345 words - 2 pages I.- Why do people lie? Everybody lies. It may only be “white” lies, but everyone tells lies or “omits the truth” sometimes. We start lying at around age 4 to 5 when children gain an awareness of the use and power of language. This first lying is not malicious, but rather to find out, or test, what can manipulated in a child’s environment. Eventually children begin to use lying to get out of trouble or get something they want. White lies, those

Why Do People Eat Spicy Food

322 words - 2 pages pertain to any dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetable substance and is primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food (Wikipedia, 2014). Heat, on the other hand, is a more specific term associated with the pepper variety and other fruits that contain the active ingredient capsaicin, which is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), also known as the Scoville scale (eatmorechiles, 2014). But why do people eat hot spicy foods? Whether

The Things They Essay

893 words - 4 pages the literal weight of one another. In this short story the author uses the title symbolically for both the seen and unseen things that men at war carry and to represent the traumas and hardships they have suffered that they will carry for the rest of their lives. These soldiers know they can die at any moment and so when the inevitable happens and a soldier is actually killed in action extra tension stems from the fact that Lt. Cross knows he is

They Can Do It! You Can Help! A Look At Talent Practices At The Home Depot

748 words - 3 pages Discuss how the leadership at Home Depot intended to use its organizational talent to gain a competitive advantage in the Do It Yourself industry. The best way for Home Depot to gain a competitive advantage and to maintain it in today’s business situations is to carry out and transform so fast that they bring forth a cycle of temporary competitive advantages. This can be extremely difficult to accomplish as it requires a grouping of