View Poll Results: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

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  • totally fixed

    0 0%
  • primarily fixed (but some things can change)

    2 9.52%
  • half and half

    6 28.57%
  • primarily subject to change (but some things are fixed)

    6 28.57%
  • totally subject to change

    6 28.57%
  • Rootabega

    1 4.76%
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Thread: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

  1. #11
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    Humans evolve as they mature, grow and have varied experiences. Most of us are not the same people at 30 that we were at 15, and are not the same at 50 that we were at 30. Experiences change our perceptions and beliefs, both political and ideological. At any given time in our lives, we are the sum of what we have experienced up until that point. Most people, in my opinion, continue to evolve throughout their lives.

  2. #12
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    The OP question sort of reminds me of free will vs. determinism. Isn't it a bit of both? There are so many factors at work in life, no one ever has total control.

  3. #13
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    It's about 50/50. Even my politics have evolved over time. I certainly do not like the things I liked in high school. Things that haven't changed revolve around my taste buds and slight movement in my moral compass.
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  4. #14
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    At this point, with what we have learned about human behavior in terms of cause and effect, the jury is out - If we are talking "nature versus nurture"; I don't know of many scientists who do not believe that behaviors are the result of a gene-environment interaction, so in that sense it's 50/50. There are many genetic characteristics that contribute directly or indirectly to human behavior and there are many environmental situations that can elicit different behavioral responses in individuals. Individuals become who they are as an adult via complex gene-environment interactions - certain environments are more likely to elicit certain characteristics and behaviors and certain genetic traits that affect behavior are highly determined by genetics. Some things are more determined by genetics, such as personality traits, and some things are less determined by genetics. However, it is not believed that there is any behavior that does not have both a genetic and environmental cause (direct or indirect).

  5. #15
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    I think human behavior is totally subject to change. As individuals we have autonomy over our beliefs and behaviors.
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  6. #16
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    I think human behavior is totally subject to change. As individuals we have autonomy over our beliefs and behaviors.
    I do enjoy being able to believe that I have free will (believing otherwise all the time could be a "downer"); however, scientifically speaking, there is much evidence that all of our behaviors are the result of a gene-environment interaction. For example:

    A 2 people are running late for class and thus they need to get to class very quickly. They both know that speeding, jay-walking and walking across lawns is frowned upon, however, one each has different personality traits (personality traits have been shown to be highly inheritable-i.e. the result of genetics) and each one has been raised in a different manner. Person A has cautious personality traits and has been raised in a highly structured and strict home. On the other hand, person B has impulsive personality traits and has been raised in a permissive and unstructured home. Given these two facts, any psychologists would say that if you were to bet on who would engage in speeding, jay-walking and or walking across lawns on their way to school (remember they are running late), one should bet that person B would be the one who would engage in those behaviors more often than person A. In this example we see both environmental factors being considered (i.e. style of home) and genetic factors (i.e. personality traits) in order to predict behavior. Because there are many more factors that could contribute to which student engages in said behaviors, it is likely that the betting psychologists will loose a bet or two; however, given more information, the psychologist could make an even more informed bet.

    What I was trying to demonstrate in the above example is that, whether we realize it or not (and not realizing it can be less painful sometimes), it is very likely that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to our behaviors and thus, in that sense, the idea of "free will" is a myth. The person carrying out their behaviors believes that they are doing so without any influence of gene or environment, i.e. completely on their free will, however, mounting evidence does not support this idea.
    Last edited by MusicAdventurer; 09-16-11 at 12:44 AM.

  7. #17
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    From what I've seen, people are usually pretty fixed. Most people go through a little bit of change, but not too much. However, sometimes people will undergo a complete, 180 degree switch, like when a former crack addict accepts Christ and starts going to church every Sunday or something.
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  8. #18
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    It depends on the personality traits and the other particulars. Some traits have high heritability (0.6 for narcissism) others are in the (0.4-0.6) range, and others are very open to environmental influences,

    Political ideologies are subjected to an interesting tug or war between various factors. There is widely noted tendency of young people being more liberal and then becoming more conservative as they grow older. There is the feature of children becoming more like their parents as they grow older, meaning that they're following their natural inclinations more than being influenced by environment.

    We're not totally rational/ideological creatures which probably explains a good part of the "What's the Matter with Kansas" thesis which so perplexed liberals a decade ago.

  9. #19
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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiverDad View Post
    It depends on the personality traits and the other particulars. Some traits have high heritability (0.6 for narcissism) others are in the (0.4-0.6) range, and others are very open to environmental influences,

    Political ideologies are subjected to an interesting tug or war between various factors. There is widely noted tendency of young people being more liberal and then becoming more conservative as they grow older. There is the feature of children becoming more like their parents as they grow older, meaning that they're following their natural inclinations more than being influenced by environment.

    We're not totally rational/ideological creatures which probably explains a good part of the "What's the Matter with Kansas" thesis which so perplexed liberals a decade ago.
    Good points, I don't know what you mean about "What's the matter with Kansas" and liberals, but other than that I agree. Humans are like imperfect scientists. That is, we take in the information that we receive and try to make sense of it, try to make predictions, etc. However, because we have such a relatively small amount of experiences when compared to the overall population, we can make erroneous judgements, which can lead to irrational behavior. We also have memory and perception faults as well which doesn't help things. This is why the empirical method was developed.

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    Re: Is human behavior fixed or subject to change?

    As people's education grow they change, they also will change with the wisdom of age and experience.

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