Are We A Product Of Our Environment?


I believe that Skinner was right about us being subject to environmental factors. Biological destiny is the name given to the idea that our lives and choices are determined by our biology, or genes as well as the environment. We’re victims of circumstance. For example, our unconscious is ruled by hormones, electrical impulses that act as neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters fire when we feel, think and move. Our feelings are motivated by things that happen (either to us or someone else). There’s an evolutionary reason why we feel things like pain, pleasure, guilt or lust. We’re guided by these feelings to do things that are beneficial for the human species like reproduce or fight off predators. Similarly, individuals are shaped by the environment they grow up in via classical conditioning. When they hear sirens, for example, they will probably become wary of where the danger is because of conditioning to associate sirens with danger in the form of crime, medical emergency or fire.

I can be very pessimistic. I think that trait is an advantage biologically in order to keep me from feeling depressed from disappointment. This could be explained by the environment in terms of experience in situations like becoming disappointed in things that I was initially excited for. As for my free will, you could think of it as me choosing not to feel bad when things don’t go my way.

Watch this video and tell me what you think: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

This was the most interesting TED talk I’ve watched. This man is a professor of primatology and psychology at Stanford. Usually, I don’t listen quite so intently to speakers unless they have obvious accreditation, he fits the bill. Our experience as apes on this Earth is really qualitative in his speech. One thing he didn’t mention that I find really interesting about primates and culture is the case of the monkeys in Japan who share ideas and modify them when cleaning and adding salt to sweet potatoes. Robert’s talk illustrated qualities of human life that we had thought were unique to us but have since been observed in other animals. Even fish have been observed practicing a form of The Golden Rule!

Psychology will be applied to my major, Nursing. I hope to use the knowledge from here and apply it in clinical settings. I love getting to know people and having an open mind. I believe this will help me help my patients someday.

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