Ever wonder what really drives people’s thoughts and behaviors? Cool, then join the thousands of psychologists who’ve been trying to crack this code since the beginning of time.
As of today, the most widely accepted theory is something called the biospsychosocial model. I know it sounds all scientific and complicated but all it really means is that the driving forces behind people’s thoughts and actions are the biological, psychological and social influences and how they all interact with one another.
We begin with the biological or the body and more specifically the brain and nervous system. The body plays the role of housing the components that not only keep us alive but enable us to think.
Next is the mind or the place where all of our feelings, desires, emotions and beliefs come from. Understanding how the mind works is essential to understanding behavior and mental processes but some psychologists such as behaviorists actually completely ignore the mind while others like biological psychologists call the mind the brain.
The the component i the biospsychosocial model - which is studied at length by social psychologists - is the role that others play in our lives or social influence. These influences aren’t only specific to other people either. They can include things like technology and nature as well.
The social influence part of the model is what interests me the most because this is where you can really begin to utilize the power of persuasion and influence.
After all, you can really change a person’s body parts or organs but you can affect the way that they think about things and make decisions.
When it comes to this part of the model it’s important to always remember that cultural differences have a huge impact on the way people perceive the world.
Cultural differences have become a popular area of study in psychology in the last 30 years and it’s not hard to understand why.
From a scientific perspective, it’s important to understand why certain cultures hold the beliefs that they do because all people are vulnerable to cultural bias. When you understand the mechanics behind this, it gives you an objective picture of reality as opposed to psychologies that differ from region to region and aren’t accepted outside of the cultures they were developed in.
From a humanistic perspective, it’s important to understand cultural belief differences so you gain the awareness needed to approach every situation as diplomatically and open minded as possible.