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With thousands and millions of miles open to the habitation, human beings are always inclined to build their homes next to other people. No matter the culture, race, continent and era; this is what we usually do. To ever find people choosing to alienate and live alone in this world is quite rare. Human beings need to live with the rest since we are all social animals and that is our nature. We are both members of a group and individuals and we can only survive if the individual members also survive. It is therefore imperative to analyze deeply on social animal subject, terms and theories and relate the readings to a real life concept as well as psychology.
Summary of the social animal; terms, theories and studies
The human beings are considered to be social creatures and not only in the trivial sense that we are fond of being in companies and not on the grounds we do depend on each other but because elementary we exist as normal beings who require to interact with other people. The sociological theory tends to interpret our understanding on human behavior. The sociological theory by Max (N.d) and Richard (1997, p.125) states that not all actions are social in humans and our actions are usually determined by the actions of other people. The interpersonal communication theory examines on how the society learns to be social. It analyzes how people communicate to each other and why they decide to choose the people they are with and the effect that their choices have on them (Stephen & Karen 2009, p.546).
The mimetic theory asserts that the human self can never be a separate entity as it needs the others in order to live and exist comfortably (Mihai 1984, p.11. It is also known as imitative theory since human beings tend to imitate others in almost everything they do. The psychological theories as far as groups are concerned do emphasize on the roles of people as far as attitudes, personality, discrimination, conformity and social bias is concerned. The social dominance theory assumes that the people who are usually identified with high profiled groups are usually prejudiced and discriminated towards the minority groups (Irving, Donald, Theodore & Melvin, 2003, p.486). Both psychological and sociological approaches do recognize the significance of groups as far as social life is concerned. In respect to the decisions that we make in a group, the self categorization theory and social identity theory asserts that when individual identities are salient, people’s beliefs, needs, motives, decisions, and standards determine their behavior (Irving et al 2003, p.486).
Summarizing readings on social animals
Human beings are basically social animals and we can never cope alone. They have both an effect and cause nature that implies that every deed that we do whether involuntarily and voluntarily obviously has its roots somewhere. Human beings lack the physical features as well as the strengths that most animals do have. We lack jaws to tear food, furs to protect us from cold. As a result, this has led human beings to be biologically capitalistic and must invest their efforts and time in others.
As self evident as it may seem, it is less clear why we are actually considered as social animals. Most questions emerge in relation to this topic. Are we really social animals? Just because we live in groups, does that make as social animals? It is lucid that human beings are members of divergent groups. The reason why we are classified as animals is because most animals; lions, elephants, fish and wolves do spend most of their time in groups just like human beings. Also the fact that we talk so effectively makes us to be social animals though that does not make us really stand out as social animals. Human beings are in capacity to unconsciously and automatically relate their behavior according to the social environment they are in (Susan & Nick, 2005, p.208).
The groups usually influence people to make decisions that they do in life. For example, one might be extremely positive and confident about somebody else, but hearing others criticize that person will change their mind and concur with others in their recent ideology. We are all social animals. As human beings we engage in conversations, groups, contracts and other social activities. Even when we are isolated and alone, we always use our social knowledge in order to come up with a sense curtailed view of our lives as we reflect on the social events that we have been involved in (Michael 2004, p.6).
Most people in order to fit in a certain group they undergo through conformity. This change is always as a response to imagined or real group pressures. Group pressures take different forms for example, persuasion, criticism, bullying and others. Conformity is usually used in response to an agreement of the position of the majority brought by normative, informational or identification concepts. Others tend to feel superior in scenarios that they are treated as inferiors. One impact of being social animals is the fact that we do live in states of tension between values associated with change and conformity. It is therefore lucid that there are situations which conforming into other people’s likes and tastes can be quite tragic and disastrous. The factors that affect conformity are unanimity and the person as well as the culture. One of the factors that do determine the fact that people’s opinion will conform to that of the majority is whether or not their opinion is unanimous or not. Also the characteristics of the individual affect conformity.
The social psychologists have come to realize that there are usually biases and distortions when it comes to perceiving ourselves in the limelight of other people. Our behavioral patterns are usually influenced by other groups and people in great extents. Social interactions happen within divergent contexts that range from culture, environment, families and social groups. All this has an effect on what we do. Some social groups that we engage ourselves into have more power and prestige than others. As human beings we tend to compare our groups with other people’s groups in order to analyze how they do match up together (Nicky, 2004, p.7). As members of social groups the process of comparing reflects on our attitude towards ourselves. When we come to realize that we are in a group that does not suit us, we always try to alienate ourselves from it or better still try to change the way it is usually perceived. The way in which people comprehend their groups play a critical role in social life.
Real world event and the readings
People tend to conform to the majority groups due to various reasons. The behavioral theory tends to analyze why people behave the way we do (Kendra, n.d). The reasons why people sometimes conform are in order to feel comfy in a group and suit in. Through influence processes we manage as well as generate the changes that are there in the social world (Daniel, 1998, pp.151). Most of the minorities who are affected by racial discrimination tend to act superior among their fellow counterparts who usually treat them in an inferior way (George & John, 1985, p.4.). Also another real situation that is related to the topic is when people are convinced about the existence of something or are happy about a particular scenario. The same people might change when they listen to their groups criticizing the scenario or saying something different. This is because social animals always want to acknowledge the opinion of others.
The readings and goals in psychology
The social psychology does affect the cognitive processes as well as reality construction on ways in which the individuals influence, perceive and relate to the others in order to comprehend the sociological behaviors of the individuals (Social psychology, n.d, pp. 3-30). Social psychology does a vast role in teaching more on social behavior and critical thinking. Though the distinction between science and common sense is at times exaggerated, it is imperative for the psychologists to learn the historical, cultural, political as well as other variables that do affect the interpretations of behavior. The topic social animals in humans is related to the psychology field as it is their goal to study the human behavior and mental processes by interpreting, observing and recording how animals and people relate to the environment. As a clinical psychologist, it is their nature to come into terms with the reasons behind a certain behavioral system in humans (Bureau of labor statistics, 2010).
As a psychology it is my goal in future to integrate the psychology theories in my profession. One such theory is the behavioral theory that will increase my knowledge on how to learn new behaviors and information. Also the humanistic theory will help me to appreciate the goodness in people and help me in understanding their reasoning capacity. The personality psychology theories tends to ascertain the patterns of feelings and thoughts that do make some people in a group feel unique than others (Kendra, n.d). The social psychology theories when it is integrated in the psychological arena will enable the clinical psychologists explain a certain social behavior.
It is patent that we are social animals due to various unique reasons. As psychologists, we need to integrate our understanding of social theories in understanding the behaviors of people and counsel them effectively from a point of knowledge.