Man as a product of nature and society is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. A person lives and acts by doing certain things. The single concept of behavior unites his activity and communication with other people. His basic socio-psychological properties are manifested in a person’s behavior, actions, and deeds. An individual’s feelings, perceptions, and thoughts create his subjective images and models of the external world, which, being transformed in the brain, pass into various forms of activity and behavior (Ajzen, 2020). Human behavior does not just depend on our upbringing and the DNA in each of us. People think it is simple: either nature or nurture when it comes to human behavior. However, I have always argued against this theory. There must be more to the decisions people make than their environment and genetics (Rezny, 2017). This research proposal will tell the reader why this topic should be explored. It may help behavioral psychology to gain a deeper understanding of why people do the things they do.
Background and Review of the Literature
The complexity of his behavior characterizes a man as a biosocial being. Such behavior is determined not only by a person’s internal beliefs and consciousness; many other factors influence its emergence. In addition, human behavior is the result of many years of exposure to various educational factors and family situations (Baum, 2018). Factors influencing human behavior, and its motives, is the subject of many scientific studies. Most researchers agree that a combination of factors influences human behavior. Among such factors are morality, faith, culture, worldview, motivation, fears, desires, self-determination and self-expression, style, image, conditions, and standard of living (Bhattacharya & Kaski, 2019). All of the above sets of influencing factors can be grouped according to specific criteria. Clark (2018) classifies factors and conditions that directly or indirectly influence the formation and reproduction of behavior into objective and subjective. Theoretical ideas about the relationship and nature of objective and subjective factors are known.
Objective factors are more general, arise, and exist independently of the will and consciousness of the person, and subjective factors are generated by the person himself, depending on him. If the focus is on a line of action, united by specific goals, values, attitudes – then the decisive factors in conditioning behavior are more general, regular, stable conditions and causes (Dávila-Montero et al., 2019). In the scientific literature, one can find another classification. For example, Haim (2020) divides the factors influencing behavior into external and internal. The internal reasons should be considered precisely the person’s awareness of the meaning of his actions, the quality of perception of norms, their transformation through subjective evaluation and expression in the form of actions in society.
The norms of the country’s legal system and socio-legal policy, acting as a regulator of social relations in various spheres of life, are considered external causes. The cited studies that deal with the classification of influence factors are insufficient because they pay attention only to broad categorical concepts rather than narrow factors (Folk et al, 2019). Generalizing factors into categories, researchers come to the same “nurture or nature,” which does not help to identify new factors of influence but, on the contrary, erases them (Ziafar & Namaziandost, 2019). I would like to explore how much agency and free will influence people’s behavior compared to nature and nurture.
The hypothesis of my research is that agency, and free will are the key factors influencing human behavior. These factors have a much stronger influence on human behavior than upbringing or natural inclinations (Saari, 2019). My hypothesis is based on the fact that regardless of the conditions in which a person grew up, as well as his natural characteristics, he performs actions for the most part based on the corresponding desire. If my hypothesis is confirmed, it will convince the scientific community that there is no automatism in conscious human behavior (Nunn, 2022). It will additionally mean that the life situation or previous experience cannot justify inappropriate behavior. A person makes all the choices consciously, which means that his behavior is less dependent on education than previously assumed (Tsuchiya et al., 2019). Confirmation of my hypothesis will help to remove the stigma from some groups of the population, for example, children who grew up with alcoholic parents.
My research will show that their behavior is unlikely to repeat the behavior of people in the environment in which they were brought up. My questionnaire questions will be divided into categories according to the level of behavioral reaction: typical, conscientious, and stressful. Each of the sections will answer the question, “Will people with the same upbringing and similar nature act the same? Will free will play a key role in shaping behavioral response?”. My research question directly relates to the topic of categorization of factors influencing behavior. In my survey, which will be conducted as part of the study, I will reveal the absence of a significant pattern between upbringing and behavioral reactions in certain situations. Thus, I will prove that the canonization of factors affecting human behavior on upbringing and nature is wrong.
Method and Design
The research that I will conduct is sociological since it includes the study of human behavior in society. The study will be empirical since it is focused on the collection and analysis of data using methods and techniques of sociological research. This methodology is the most suitable for my purposes since they include identifying the dependence of behavior on factors affecting it in practice. The design of my study will not be experimental because it involves exclusively collecting data from participants who are in the same conditions. As participants in the study, I will determine a sample consisting of ten people aged from twenty-one to twenty-five years who received approximately the same upbringing in their families. The age of the sample participants was determined based on the fact that just at this period, a person is already considered emotionally mature and entirely responsible for the choice he makes (Luetz et al., 2020). At the same time, participants over the age of twenty-five were not selected for the sample since they tend to overlap their life experiences with behavioral choices, which will complicate the conduct of the study.
I will exclude participants suffering from mental illness because such conditions directly affect behavioral reactions. The participants in my study will have no incentives. Instead, they will take a survey in which they will indicate their most likely behavioral reaction in a given situation. Thus, it will be possible to compare the reactions of people who had the same upbringing and nature and find out whether their choices depend mainly on free will (Neta & Haas, 2019). I will analyze my results by calculating the standard deviation of the sample. If the standard deviation is higher than usual, it will mean that the results are diverse. In turn, this will mean that people with the same background have chosen different options, which will confirm my theory. If the sample results turn out to be homogeneous, the hypothesis will be refuted.
Significance and Conclusion
The importance of my research lies in the fact that it will revolutionize the classification of factors affecting human behavior. Initially, it was believed that these factors fall under specific categories, and each of them has an explanation – natural abilities or nurture (Müller, 2020). I will prove that a person’s free will plays the most crucial role in shaping behavior. From this, it will follow that predicting human behavior in a given situation is much more complex than it seemed before. People’s behavioral reactions do not depend on the environment in which they grew up or the genetics embedded in them. Free will is shaped by various factors that affect a person throughout his life. Nevertheless, people make most of the choices consciously and without obeying the rules imposed on them by society.
My research will demonstrate that even young people raised in the same environment can have different behavioral reactions. This negates the argument that the factors that determine human behavior can be attributed to upbringing or genetic set. Thus, readers will be interested to know the results of this study because it will prove the independence of human behavior. This will be able to explain some irrational or even dangerous actions of people. Knowing the reasons for this behavior, it will be possible to work with these further and prevent non-accidental cases. Thus, my research will be a valuable contribution to the study of human behavior and a vast field for further analysis.
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