Social Values And Norms

How much does Culture and Lifestyle Affect Behavior



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Among the various factors that affect human behaviour in life like climate, religion, culture, experience, education and training, and lifestyle; culture and lifestyle have the greatest impact. Culture and lifestyle are the major factors affecting how we talk, dress, relate with and treat people, how we eat and live. According to Tylor in 1871, "culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, moral, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society". Culture is the full range of learned behavioral patterns of a group of people. We have family, ethnic culture, state culture, corporate culture and national culture. On the other hand, lifestyle can be described as the way a person lives. It includes the way he or she eats, dresses, thinks, talks, behaves etc. It is the imbibed or adopted culture of a man from the society at large. For example, the lifestyle of New York or London is the mixture of the different cultures of the inhabitants. Lifestyle affects culture and culture affects lifestyles in the society. Lifestyle is a result of culture, climate, socialisation and technology. The two, culture and lifestyle, are the major determinants of human behaviour.

Social values, norms and beliefs have impact in the way we live as well as on the societal lifestyle. Religion, experience and education may change the influence of culture and lifestyle in our behaviour slightly but not totally. For example, most children who are born into a family of cigarette smokers do smoke at early age. This is a behavioral trait from culture. These children learn smoking through intuition and grow to imbibe it as a lifestyle. Societal lifestyle in America and Europe where affluence in the society means that eating three square meal a day is not a problem means that residents can afford to buy drugs despite all laws and control. Excessive controls may lead to inquisitiveness and later addiction. In a survey of druggists in a rehab carried out by the writer, thirty per cent of sample said they entered into drug addiction through 'inquisitiveness', wanting to know why people say it is not good, research or curiousity. They sell drugs in third world countries on the street, yet majority of the people are not addicted to it as in Western world.

Scientists have showed that through genes individuals are most likely to behave like their parents even when they do not share the same culture for a very long term, but culture and lifestyle have the greates impacts on chidren behaviour. The way of dressing and and behaving in the society are more related to culture and lifestyle to any other factor. For example, United Kingdom and Netherland share the same weather, but teenagers' pregnancies are more prevalent in United Kingdom than in Netherland, Children in Canada, though close to America and share the same climate have dissimilar beliefs to children in America because of the national culture of America which is different from that of America.

In terms of education and tranining, a medical doctor will likely not go into drugs despite coming from a family where drug is prevalent. His vocation may have superior influence over his cultural influence. Education has a way of exposing the pros and cons of cultural beliefs and lifestyles to individuals and by trying to live up to societal expectations, an individual is able to change his or her bad hehaviours into good. Parents who are able to manage their children well have also been able to change their lifestyles against bad societal lifestyles of the area they live. For example, A family in South East London where knife-, and gun-. crime was rampant among youths was able to influence his children not by moving away but by turning into religion. The family prayed together, read the Bible together and condemned the indecent act of these boys in the house. The family refused to let other boys from around to mix with their boys except when they are known to be studious and responsible. By close monitoring, family norms can be inculcated in children over societal lifestyles.

Culture and lifestyle also affect behaviour to a great extent when we analyse the influence of technology in our life. According to a recent report by Bon Alfonso of University of Nevada, Reno, USA (Is the internet affecting the social skills of our children?), it was found out that teenagers were more likely to use the internet to play games, play music, watch films and sports. It has greatly affect their social skills, exposure to bad societal practices and affeted their education performance. Lifestyle where ladies advertise in nudeness and kisses openly also affect children. A sixteen year old girl in America is more likely to have been disvirgin than a sixteen year old girl in Cuba. Lifestyles are different in the two countries and the children design their behaviour through lifestyle after culture.

According to a research in Clinical Psychology, people with Obssesive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) mostly take it after their parents or guardians. These people are obssessed with anything they own and excessively pampered it. It is borne from culture and not from the society. A child from a rich home will probably buy more than he needs when he gets to Walmart forshopping and will probably not finish his food when he gets to McDonald Restaurant compared to a child from poor home. These are some of the great extent culture and lifestyle are affecting our behaviour.Majorily, our behaviours are affceted by culture and lifestyle.

More about this author: Olufemi Oyedele

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