Nature Human Behaviour
Nature Human Behaviour publishes Reviews, Perspectives, News, Features, Correspondence and a wide range of research on human behaviour. These include (but are not limited to):
A central debate in human behaviour concerns whether a person’s behaviour is determined by ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’. Many human traits, both behavioural and morphological, are considered by standard evolutionary approaches to be of an intrinsically adaptive nature.
Emotions Before Reason
Human behaviour refers to the way people behave physically and mentally. It encompasses all the ways that people interact with each other and with the environment around them, including their thoughts, feelings, motivations, and internal vents. It also includes their vocal behaviour and how they react to different problems and situations.
Although people’s behaviour differs from one another, there is also a certain degree of similarity among them. For example, most people will try to remove a particle of dust that has fallen into their eye.
While many studies focus on how people behave, some researchers are also interested in why they behave the way they do. The evolutionary approach to examining human nature involves a distinction between proximate and ultimate causes.
The proximate cause is the immediate causal mechanism or development that leads to a specific trait. The ultimate cause, on the other hand, relates to the fitness, functional impact and evolutionary origins of a particular behaviour.
Loss aversion is a well-replicated psychological and economic bias that describes people’s increased sensitivity to losses over equivalent gains. For instance, a person is twice as likely to be upset about losing a $100 bill than they are happy to find it. This heightened attention to losses over gains also increases the ‘hot stove effect’ – where individuals avoid risky alternatives, even when those risks produce higher payoffs. For example, a company would rather lie about a car defect than admit the truth and face lawsuits or public embarrassment.
Interestingly, brain scans using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have shown that individual differences in loss aversion are reflected by different neural responses in the striatum and limbic structures including the amygdala. More recent research using voxel-based morphometry has found that these brain regions are correlated with structural differences in the brain.
Curiosity is a motivated desire to seek out new information or experiences. It is a key factor in human learning and a driving force behind human exploration from an evolutionary perspective.
Psychologist Daniel Berlyne proposed that curiosity is a basic drive aimed at reducing uncertainty in one’s environment by seeking out stimuli that can dispel uncertainty (Berlyne, 1954). He described two types of curious behavior: perceptual and epistemic. Perceptual curiosity focuses on novel sensory inputs, such as new sights or sounds. This type of curiosity is exhibited by infants and some non-human animals.
Epistemic curiosity, on the other hand, focuses on understanding causal structures in the environment. Schulz and Bonawitz (2007), for example, observed that children preferentially played with toys that allowed them to deconfound potential causal variables. This type of curiosity is akin to the puzzle-solving motivation underlying John Locke’s theory of natural liberty. It is also supported by evidence from neuroscience that demonstrates that desiring new information activates mesolimbic pathways and triggers dopamine release.
Human behaviour is a complex subject and is studied by many different academic disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, and economics. It is impacted by a variety of factors, such as genetics, social norms, and core faith. It is also influenced by an individual’s environment.
In business, risk-taking is a huge part of being successful. However, it’s important to have a support system to help you evaluate and manage risks. This team can be a cheerleader or coach to keep you on track and focused, especially when doubt creeps in.
If you’re engaging in risk-taking behaviors that put your well-being at risk, such as drug abuse or anonymous sex, seek professional help. A psychotherapist can address the underlying cause of your behavior and help you overcome it. They may also recommend social-support groups for people with similar experiences to yours. Then, you can move forward with confidence! You’ll be glad you did.