Inclusion and Diversity in Human Behavior Development
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HowW DOES INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY AFFECT DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR
Diversity covers the differences that exist in human beings. Previously, diversity in socialization and development of human behavior was considered as the concept of differences between various groups of people, their socialization techniques and culture. However, in recent times, diversity has come to be known as the differences not just between communities but between the human beings themselves. Some of these changes are part of the genetic construction which means that in such cases people sharing particular physical features and traits are prone to the development of certain behavior. On the other hand, there are those differences that stem from life experiences and the environment from which such groups of individuals are socialized. According to (Elster 1999) diversity is the different forms of behavior that stem from the ethnic groups, genders, state of origin and religion among other factors. He continues to say that diversity also includes perspectives of life and life style choices.
On the other hand inclusion tries as much as possible to minimize the diverse nature of human beings. Traditional societies and strict religious groups are perhaps the best example of inclusion in the study of human behavior. Individuals are socialized to dress alike, follow strict procedures in everyday activities even when in private. In such societies, members can be identified simply by their behavior. (Sigelman and Shaffer 1991) in his analysis of such cultures showed that members lack even the basic individual thoughts characteristic of human nature. Such thoughts have been suppressed by what such individuals consider to be the norm and culture. It is almost as if they have been brainwashed, rebellion against the uniformity of the society is not only frowned upon but also attracts severe punishments.
Ashworth (2000) states that diversity in development of human behavior stems not from nature but rather from the varying socialization processes. In all psychological theories relationships are vital in the development of behavior. Psychologists agree that human behavior in itself is not only complex but also diverse in nature. Even in societies where similarities seem to exist and rule; the internal human behavior in individuals within the society is quite different. The uniqueness of each human being in terms of physicality and thoughts leads to different relationships with the environment and socialization process and therefore development of particular behaviors. Diversity is not acquired through nature; it is in fact the nature of the human beings. Human beings cannot exist without diversity.
Darwin in his evolutionary theories built on the basis that human beings are diverse in nature. According to him, the resources required for the existence of human beings are scarce and therefore there exists much completion. Only the strong and the best adjusted human beings in the species survive the competition and evolve to become stronger and more suitably adjusted to the environment. According to this therefore, behavior develops in an attempt to adapt to the fats evolving environment. Each individual designs their own coping mechanisms for that which they consider most suitable to the environment. Since human beings continue to exist in completion and will continue to do so for a long time, young ones will be socialized into an evolving environment. They are required to develop their own unique survival skills in order to continue existing. This is why technology continues to change on a daily basis. Human beings in their own diverse ways are still attempting to survive in the evolving world.
Cognitive theories explaining the development of human behavior are also based on the assumption that diversity is vital and indeed the only way individuals acquire behavioral trends. According to cognitive theorists, behavior begins forming in the mind even before birth. As a child is born, they come into the world with their own view of the existence and world forms. As they interact with the environment such thoughts become influences, transform and change to what the society may consider normative. However, (Wade and Tavris 2000) highlights that diversity in human behavior comes not from the thoughts alone, but in fact from the interaction and relationship between the thoughts and the environment. In an attempt to adapt to the environment, human beings develop a thought process which then guides their behavior. This though process is responsible for adaptation to the changes that they may encounter. For example when two children grow up as orphans, facing almost the same challenges that come from the lack of parental care; one may become focused and in fact achieve high success in an attempt to fight fate, yet another could resign themselves into depression and a longer list of maladaptive tendencies and still another could resort to crime seeing this as the only avenue for success. Each of the individuals have faced the same challenges in a similar environment; what has differed is the relationship between thought and environment.
The humanistic approach to behavior development concurs with the cognitive perspective while at the same time challenging many of the fundamentals and offering a variety of core principles that encourage diversity in human behavior. (Gray 1999). (Bijou and Ribes, 1996) states that the humanistic approach is perhaps the one theory through which the influence of diversity in behavior is not only encourages but best understood. Humanistic theorists begin by indicating that human beings are far from similar. In fact, according to them the differences are astronomical between one individual and another. Children brought up in a similar family, with the same resources and environment are as different as day and light. Human beings are beyond what humanistic theorists call components and parts of a human being. What makes us human is beyond the fact that we have hands, eyes and even a functional brain. These are just components and the behavior of a human being cannot be broken down into such components. Carl Rogers, Maslow and Moustakas focused on this assumption to describe issues such as the self and individuality as it responds to human behavior.
Diversity of human behavior comes not from socialization or learned behavior but from conscious efforts. Human beings are not only aware of their own behavior, they are also aware that they are aware of their behavior. Therefore each decision to pursue a particular behavior is a conscious effort to meet a particular need. Behavior must need this need in order to be emphasized. People move away from norms and values that have been ingrained from them since childhood dimply because such norms no longer meet the state of their needs and requirements. Since they are conscious of themselves, these theorists believe that they cannot be manipulated unless such manipulation is directed at meeting particular needs. The intelligence of the human being comes from this particular characteristic.
(Cicarelli and Mayer, 2006) concur that human beings exist because they have a choice. This is why laws are out in place because human beings have choices in the selection of behavior and because of their diversity not all will elect the normative choice. This choice according to humanistic supporters comes with responsibility which is the main aspect of socialization. Socialization into the society is not a system through which learned behaviors are passed from one generation to another. Rather, it is a system through which human beings become aware of their choices and the reasonability that each choice carries. Children do not steal, not because they have learnt not to steal but because they will go to jail. (Baron and Kalsher 2001) further states that is if they indeed find a way to steal without being caught and therefore escape punishment then that will be the norm and acceptable choice to them despite what they have learnt. The choice factor makes the human being so diverse that they cannot respond to similar circumstances in the same way even when all other factors are held constant. How they respond to the responsibility determines the actual result of the behavior. All behaviors of the human being are not haphazard or as robotic as Freud and skinner described and stated. Human beings engage in a particular behavior because they expect certain rewards to come from such behavior. If the rewards do not come forth, they are most likely to change paths and attempt a new way of gaining the same rewards. For example, an employee will go to work daily, work hard and meet their targets in an attempt to be financially secure. However, after a while they will become corrupt and attempt shorter routes to earn the same money easily and faster.
There have been many misconceptions surrounding the concept of inclusivity. Many make the assumption that inclusivity means that human beings are mostly similar in majority of their choices and decisions. However, the concept of inclusivity acknowledges that human beings are indeed diverse, and in fact attempts to make explanations with regard to such differences. Inclusivity covers the attempts by society and culture to integrate human beings into similar behaviors. Inclusivity attempts to reduce the diverse nature of individuals by using various socialization methods. In inclusive societies, regulations, norms and beliefs are strict. Punishments for misbehavior or behavior against the norm draw severe punishments. The freedom of thought and free will is in turn curtailed.
Traditional societies are renowned for the concept of inclusivity. Inclusivity allows the survival of societies. This is especially the case where competition for resources is high. Instead of encouraging diverse thoughts and behavior, which would in turn encourage completion among individuals; society encouraged the inclusive similar thoughts on survival. All individuals are expected to act according to the norm under which children are socialized. In such cases, socialization is not expected to draw out differences but rather to make individuals more similar. People and children act in a particular way not because of the law or even because of their conscious thoughts but rather because they come from a particular society which acts in such a way. Therefore, female children will for example cover their heads with hijabs even when others are not; not because of beauty or fashion but rather because they are Muslim and Muslim girls cover their heads. Socialization therefore becomes about mastering the rules and regulations, rather than encouraging individual thought. The root of particular behaviors can be traced back to the socialization to particular rules and regulation specific to that society.
Inclusion requires that behavior be taught rather than naturally acquired. Skinners operant conditioning covers the ideal inclusion system. According to skinner, thoughts can be suppressed and behavior encourage through either positive or negative reinforcement. Majority of the inclusive communities often encourage negative reinforcement. Behavior that is not the norm is punished; individuals are therefore forced to conform. In extreme societies the punishment is also extreme. In a regular society parents punish children for example for hitting another child in order to discourage such behavior. On the other hand, proper eating habits and good grades are awarded thereby reinforcing that particular behavior. Children left to their own diverse nature would deteriorate, and end up without any motivation for good behavior. (Lefton 1997) in his research found that children who come from homes where they are punished for bad behavior and rewarded for good behavior tended to have more focused goals and successful lives. On the other hand, children whose upbringing focused more on their diversity tended to have problems with authority even at the work place, had no clear goals career or otherwise and problems relating with society. A good number of them were in trouble with the law. (Carlson et al 2004) stated that for socialization to work in society, children and generations need to be socialized into particular behaviors rather than be held responsible for their own decisions. Individuals make decisions on the choice of behavior based on what they have been taught and socialized is the norm. Inclusion is designed to promote equitability among the shared resources. Members of the community lack nothing because they share resources equally. Everyone knows what is required of them, resources are shared according to the rules and therefore there is less likelihood of deviant behavior arising from greed to arise and develop.
Freud based his inclusive theory on the nature of human beings. According to him, we are all alike internally, and are made up of the same components. Therefore the development of behavior in each stage can be attributed to a similar characteristic within the human child. He breaks down the stages of development into five stages coinciding with the human being developmental stages: oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latency and genital stage. (Allen and Marotz 2000) cites that socialization of children into particular behaviors is designed by society to coincide directly with these stages. For example, toilet training on average begins during the anal stage and is perfected here. On the other hand, the heightened concern for risky sexual behaviors among the teens can be attributed to the poor socialization during the genital stage. In the same way he continues to counter that girls and boys are more attached to parents of the opposite sex citing the experiences of various respondents simple because of the remnant socialization during the phallic stage.
Inclusive behavior development therefore focuses more on the similarities of the human beings, heightening them so that the diversity that indeed exists becomes immaterial and in some cases non-existent in society.
Both inclusion and diversity are important aspects that help to understand the development of human behavior. There has often been a common misconception that human behavior is only attributed to the diverse nature of human beings. However, this fails to explain how people who may not even be aware of each other’s existence make almost the same decisions in life, take particular steps and lead a life that is quite similar. Inclusion is vital for society to continue in positive normative development. Left to their own devices and to cultivate the diverse nature, greed, pride and jealousy among other negative feelings are likely to take over leading to the development of negative behaviors.
Diversity on the other hand is the best way to progress. Without diversity, technology, nature and even progress among the human race would be impossible. Diversity encourages people to explore their uniqueness and though this may lead to negative behavior it is vital for purposes of balance. Without diversity, competition for resources would be stiff and the human race would be tottering on the brink of extinction. Human beings by nature are unique, both in mind and physical structure. Such differences are to be explored through positive channels. Socialization into particular behaviors needs to focus on exploring the various channels through which the diverse nature of human beings can be understood. To understand both inclusion and diversity, scholars need to adopt a macro view taking into account human nature and the environment in which particular behaviors are developed. Without this understanding the full potential of inclusion or diversity out together cannot be understood and therefore explored to encourage positive cultural developments and human behavior.
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