Internal and External Influences on Human Behaviour Flashcards Preview

Human Behaviour Concept in Social Service Practice > Internal and External Influences on Human Behaviour > Flashcards

Flashcards in Internal and External Influences on Human Behaviour Deck (21):

Name the 3 types of Internal and 3 types of External Influences.

(These factors operate together affecting human behaviour)

Internal Influences:
1. Biological
2. Psychosocial –Psychological aspect
3. Spiritual

External Influences:
1. Cultural
2. Psychosocial –Social aspect
3. Environmental


Explain the overview of BIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES.

Provide 4 biological aspects.

The role of genetics plays a considerable role in the influence of human behaviour.

This includes all biological aspects of the individual.
Some biological aspects may include:

1. Physiological – born with or acquired later in life
E.g. Height, body size relative to age, physically challenged (e.g. sight,
hearing, speech and mobility)

2. Illnesses and diseases – People may experience long term effects of
illnesses and diseases. This may impact their behaviour towards life in general and how they wish to lead their lives.

3. Neurological – Chemical imbalances in the brain resulting in inability to
function as well as other people with reference to certain aspects.

4. Genetics – Born with particular genes that cause them to be highly
active in certain aspects and somewhat ineffective in other aspects.


Explain the Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

- Attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neuro behavioural
disorders, characterised by problems with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination.

- For these problems to be diagnosed as AD/HD, they must be out of the normal range for the child's age and development.

- It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often persists into adulthood.
- Diagnosis can be made reliably using well-tested diagnostic interview methods.

- Treatment may include medical, educational, behavioural, and/or psychological interventions.

- If untreated, ADHD is a lifelong disorder that can negatively impair many aspects of daily
life including home, school, work, and interpersonal relationships.


Explain Autism Spectrum Disorders

- Autism is an umbrella term for a wide range of disorders.
- Clinically, they may be referred to as “Pervasive
Developmental Disorders” (PDDs) or “Autism Spectrum Disorders.”

- The term “spectrum” is crucial to understanding autism, because of the wide
range of intensity, symptoms and behaviours, types of disorders, and as always, considerable individual variation.

- Children with autism spectrum disorders may be non-verbal and asocial, as in the case of many with
“classic” autism, or Autistic Disorder. On the other end of the spectrum are children with a high-functioning form of autism characterised by
idiosyncratic social skills and play, such as Asperger Syndrome. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), these diagnostic categories are outlined under the heading of “Pervasive Developmental Disorders

- In the DSM-IV, these disorders are defined by deficits in three core areas: social skills, communication, and behaviours and/or interests.

- Types of autism spectrum disorders, or PDDs, include:
o Autistic Disorder
o Asperger Syndrome
o Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
o Rett Syndrome
o Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)


Explain Cerebral Palsy

- Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by damage to the brain that occurs
before, during, or shortly following birth.

- It affects body movement and muscle coordination.

- Individuals with cerebral palsy may also experience
seizures, abnormal speech, hearing and visual impairments, and mental

- Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat, or play in the same ways as most other children.

- Cerebral palsy can
include milder versions or more severe symptoms which lead to total

-Although cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition, training and therapy can help improve function.


Explain Down Syndrome

- Down Syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality that changes the course
of development and causes the characteristics associated with the

- Mild to severe mental retardation can be present among those affected.

- Speech and language may also be delayed.

- The diagnosis is
usually suspected at birth due to the presence of physical characteristics
such as a large tongue, heart problems, poor muscle tone, and flat facial

- The diagnosis is confirmed through chromosomal testing.

- The disorder is associated with a lifelong disability but can be treated through
a variety of appropriate educational and behavioural interventions in addition to occupational therapies, speech and language interventions, behaviour modification, and parent training.


Explain the Developmental Milestones of Young Children

- Can be used to identify problems in biological development of a child.

- Examples of major milestones: Getting bigger, taking a first step, saying a first word and understanding what
is being said (can vary considerably from child
to child)

- Physical growth takes place in two phases: birth to 2 years and 2 years until
puberty. Infants grow approximately 10 inches during the first year, and a pre-schooler will double her birth length or height by
age 5.

- A 12- to 18 month-old will go from taking a few cautious steps while holding
onto a table for dear life to confidently walking along, can even run and walk
up and down the stairs as the 18-month mark approaches.

- A 12-month-old likes to bang, shake and throw things in the name of exploration. He/She can
say a few words and the vocabulary will continue to grow over the next 6
months, as will his/her imagination and emotions. Pretending to feed a doll or
stuffed animal and the first of many temper tantrums may occur.

- 2 to 3 years old: very active as they could run faster, ride a tricycle, and climb playground ladders and stairs with ease. They could say sentences of at least two to three words and count up to 10. Reading
simple words and dressing up may require some effort. 4-year-olds: cooperative playmates and they become more sociable as they would rather hang out with other kids than to be alone.
As pre-schoolers get closer to kindergarten age, pleasing and being like by
their friends will carry more weight. Older pre-schoolers would have acquired
some basic grammar skills like using "she" and "he" correctly. They could speak clearly, uses full sentences, and can say their first and last names. Motor skills have advanced to hopping, skipping and performing a smooth somersault.

- 7 – 11 year olds: begin to think logically but remain very concrete in their logic. This stage is centred on rules that now govern the child's logic and thinking such as reversibility, identity, and compensation.

- 11 and 12 years old: children develop abstract thought and can easily
conserve and think logically in their mind. They directly apply their logic to real
objects or imagine objects and they develop propositional thinking, which is not restricting to the consideration of the concrete or the potentially real but instead deals with hypothetic. Could now reason from real to other


from Biological Influences on Adolescence from ages 13 - 18 years old

As children grow to be young adolescents, it will impact the way they
perceive themselves and this will affect their behaviour.


Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes:
- Grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt.
- Acne and pimples appear due to hormonal changes
Body hair starts to grow
- Voice changes
- Very concerned about physical appearance

Changes with puberty (sexual maturation) may occur gradually or several
signs may become visible at the same time.
- Females: breasts grow bigger, hips grow bigger, ovulation and menstruation start
- Males: Penis and testicles grow bigger, wet dreams – release sperms and ejaculation occurs
- Achieving genital maturity and rapid body growth signals young people that
they will soon be adults. They therefore begin to question their future roles as


Explain the Impact of Neurological: Mental and Emotional Changes /
Reactions from Biological Influences on Adolescence

The teenage years bring many changes, not only physically, but also
neurologically - mentally and emotionally.
1) During these years, adolescents increase their ability to think abstractly and eventually make plans and set long-term goals. Each child may progress at a different rate and may have a different view of the world.

- Develops the ability to think abstractly: begin to feel more responsible

- Becomes more concerned with philosophy, politics, and social issues: may have strong opinions because they feel they have matured;
develop more independent thinking
- Thinks long-term: starts to think about the future, sets goals
- Compares one's self to one's peers: may result in feeling less or more confident about.

2) The most important task of adolescence is to develop a sense of identity i.e. a sense of who they are. The primary danger of this period, according to Erik Erikson, is ‘confusion’ which cause them to:

- Commit oneself to poorly thought-out courses of action: may result in
making better or worse decisions,
- Delay acting like a responsible adult and may regress into childishness
to avoid assuming the responsibilities of adulthood.
- Intolerance of differences and therefore can become easily angered or
- Unpredictable moods swings; for females – may become very
emotional during PMS
- Sexual thoughts or feelings
Care more about what people think of them


Explain the Social
Reactions from Biological Influences on Adolescence

As the adolescents begin to struggle for independence and control, many
changes may occur such as:

- Want independence from parents; prefer to spend more time with friends
than family.
- Thinking much more easily influenced by peers.
- Peer acceptance becomes very important.
- Have strong feelings to want to fit in and become more cliquish. However
may feel awkward at times and they may feel lonely and confused during such times.
- Want to make long-term commitment in relationship. Romantic/sexual relationships become important.
- Interested in having a boyfriend / girlfriend. Falling in love is viewed as an
attempt to define identity. Through self-disclosing intimate thoughts and
feelings with another, the adolescent is articulating and seeking to better
understand his or her identity. Through seeing the reactions of a loved one
to one’s intimate thoughts and feelings, the adolescent tests out the values
and beliefs and is better able to clarify a sense of self.


Explain the Psychological
Reactions from Biological Influences on Adolescence

Adolescents have strong psychological reactions to their physical changes. It is important for adolescents to feel that they are physically
attractive. An adolescent’s brain undergoes physical changes in response to
new hormonal production.

Environmental factors, peer influences, family influences, and personal characteristics may place adolescents at risk for using mind-altering substances.

Teenagers may experience these signs of maturity sooner or later than others.

- Research reveals mixed results regarding early-maturing boys. Early
‘maturers’ tend to experience the changes in positive ways like being
more popular and becoming leaders. On the negative side, early maturers are associated with greater risks of aggression and
delinquency. Late ‘maturers’ tend to have lower self-esteem than other
boys. However, they tend to have higher levels of intellectual curiosity,
exploratory behaviour, and social initiative when compared to early maturers after all individuals have completed puberty.

Early-maturing girls have an increased vulnerability to a range of problems. Early studies found that early-maturing girls were less
popular, less poised, less expressive, and more submissive and withdrawn than other girls. They may be more prone to experience emotional problems, including problems with self-image, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and panic attacks.

- From the many variables involved in human development, differences between early- and late-maturing boys become much less clear by adulthood.


Explain the Biological Influences in Changes in Later Adulthood (over 65 years old)

- Later adulthood is an age of recompense that is a time when people reap the consequences of the kind of life they have lived.

- The process of ageing affects different persons at different rates.

- It is a mistake to view later adulthood as a time of inevitable physical and mental decline.

- Stereotyping later adulthood as a sad and final stage of life is erroneous.



Nature & Nurture

Human development is a lifelong process beginning before birth and extending
to death. Biological research has shown that social environment plays an
important role in the articulation of the inherited traits of a person’s personality.

Instead of continuing with the debate on nature vs. nurture, the discussion
should be on the psychosocial impact of the interaction of nature and nurture in the development of a person.

As a person goes through the different stages of development, the body and
brain change. Together with the environment, both nature and nurture shape
the person’s identity and his/her relationships with other people.


Talk about the Social Development Changes from Adolescence to Adulthood

- Crucial stage for developing a person’s identity.

- adolescents are in their formal operational stage -
developing abstract reasoning (piaget)

- time of personal exploration - constantly reasoning, evaluating events to help them find
their identity.

- able to forge a healthy identity of themselves = develop a sense of fidelity -
confident adults.

- not successful in finding their identity - may feel confused about role in life -
lead to deviant behaviours and constantly in conflict with their environment.

- increase in the amount of time they spend with their peers - change in significance and structure.

- Four specific social developments stand out:
1. Sharp increase in the amount of time the adolescents spend with their peers relative to the time they spend with adults.
2. The peer groups function without adult supervision as compared to the time when they were pre-adolescents.
3. Increasingly, they have more contact with peers from the opposite gender.
4. Adolescence marks the emergence of larger groups of peers, or crowds which tend to form some sort of social hierarchy and different crowds are seen to be having different degrees of status or importance.

- begin to share secrets and information of themselves with their peers - new sense of loyalty grows with a renewed belief that friends can trust each other.

Early adolescence is a period of significant changes and reorganisation in family relationships.

During this period, parents and their adolescent children are on a more equal footing. As such, the way the adolescents view family rules and regulations may change.

May lead to an increase in
disagreement between them and their parents.
The closeness between adolescents and their parents appear to be somewhat diminished. This could be due to the adolescents wanting to have more privacy
rather than any serious loss of love or respect between parents and children.

Bickering over day-to-day issues rather than outright fighting. Temporary - family relationships may become less conflicted and more intimate during late


Common Social Problems arise from Social Development Changes - explain Sexual Experiences

- Category of "autoerotic
behaviour" which refers to sexual behaviour that is experienced alone. The
most common autoerotic activities reported by adolescents are erotic fantasies and masturbation.

- Research assumes that sexually active teenagers were more troubled than their peers.


Common Social Problems arise from Social Development Changes - explain Emergence of Social Media and Internet Gaming

- rise of social media hugely influences both young and
old generations.

- popularity of internet gaming, lure of the virtual world begins to deepen in the minds of the young people.

- Parents, employers, teachers and religious leaders lament that teenagers do not possess the social skills to get along with others, communicate with people face to face in social settings and often remain silent outwardly while trashing out their emotions online.

-In general, they difficulty building personal relationships with people. The teenagers are perceived to be disrespectful towards elders.

- older generation are not internet savvy and they might not even know how to relate to the younger generation. Could result in the breakdown in communication between the younger and older


Talk about Misalignment of Position and Power based on Interactions within the Family Systems

There are hierarchies or positions of power in the family systems,

a parent may align with and have a closer relationship with one child than with another; this may lead to sibling rivalry for the affection of the parent or the feeling of unfair treatment by the less favoured child who may start to rebel.

There are situations in a family system where a child holds the power in the family. For example, where there is conflict between parents, or when parents are too busy to set the boundaries with the child, this poses inappropriate alignments and hierarchies within the family; this will exert a negative influence on the child or the young person which they will carry with them into their adulthood.

Some examples of Family Roles of Young Person in a dysfunctional home:

- 'Peace-keeper'
A young person may be unintentionally playing the role of 'peace- keeper', mediating and reducing tension between conflicting parents. Their behaviour may be in response to their unconscious anxiety about
family breakdown. This role may lead them to stay as a child in their family rather than to move towards age-appropriate independence.

- 'Scapegoat'
A young person with behavioural problems is perceived as the black
sheep in the family, while the other children are perceived as the good
children. The young person could have become the 'scapegoat' for the
family or the visible 'symptom' of a troubled family system. For example,
a young person may be labelled as 'mentally ill' although he/she might
be trying to adapt so that they can cope and function within a troubled family system.



‘Socioeconomic’ status refers to the social standing or class of an individual or
group and it is often measured as a combination of education, income,
occupation, access to resources and issues related to privilege, power and control.

People have an innate awareness of their environment and they are always searching for environments with certain critical attributes like:
- physiologically comfortable: employment, ‘liveable’ temperature
- safety and security: peaceful, stability and certainty
- psychologically comfortable: familiar, offer the right amount of stimulus


Give some examples of how the environment can impact the development of human behaviour.

Environment can facilitate or discourage interactions among people and the subsequent benefits of social support.

For example: a person,
who lives in a country where there is no freedom of speech, will be less likely to speak up when he/she feels that there is injustice and
mistreatment. ‘Self-preservation’ becomes the overriding factor to survival in such an oppressed environment. People will keep themselves and will not support one another in times of national crisis.

People, who live in a country where fights between the ethnic groups are common every daily occurrence, will be less secure as they live in
fear constantly. For example, clients who lived through the world wars
or the tumultuous years (1950s to 1960s) in Singapore, would be less
likely to take things for granted and they were generally ‘savers’ as
compared to young people who are having a more secured life after the

Environment can influence a person’s state of emotions - the underlying role of parenting, parental mental health, and the home environment in providing the emotional stability and support for young children’s need for positive development.

A child that grows up in unstable family environment tends to have behavioural problems and may not perform well academically.

family transitions that occur early in children’s development, prior
to age 6, and in adolescence appear to have the strongest effects on
their development. While young children constantly need to form secure
attachments, adolescents need strong parental support, positive role
models, and continuity of residence and schools to succeed. Children
demonstrate more negative behaviours when they lack the emotional and material support at home.

The effects of emotional abuse are often silent and it may scar the child psychologically and emotionally for life. It attacks a child's self-concept as he/she will come to see
himself/herself as unworthy of love and affection.

Emotional abuse is often overlooked, unnoticed or confused with other causes.

Environment has a moral effect on a person’s behaviour. A bad physical
environment could mean a bad moral environment. The moral effect of the environment was heavily stressed in ancient China, as exemplified in the story about Mencius’ mother who moved house three times to
find the right educational environment for her son. Mencius imitated his
surroundings; when they lived near a cemetery, the boy played at building graves and conducted burial ceremonies. They then moved near a marketplace and Mencius played at being a merchant. Finally
they moved near a school and Mencius started to imitate the rules of
proper conduct and respectful behaviour.


Give some examples of how SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE can impact the development of human behaviour.

Researches shows that there is a difference between religion and spirituality - state that ‘Religion provides a set of rules and beliefs to guide
one’s behaviour, while spirituality offers methods for managing emotions
internally and regulating the experience and expression of those emotions’.
The research shows that people who adhere to a particular spiritual tradition
tends to benefit the health of individual indirectly because many traditions have rules about treating the body with kindness and avoiding unhealthy behaviours. Most researchers agree there is a positive relationship
between religious and spiritual practices and better health outcomes.


What are the Key components of spirituality to understand clients’ needs?

The key components of spirituality are the following:

1. The physical dimension (body) is world-conscious. It is that aspect of individuals that allows them to taste, feel, see, hear, smell, and be
experienced by others.

2. The psychological dimension (mind) involves self-consciousness and self-identity. It is that aspect of an individual that deals with issues related to human interactions (and associated emotions such as grief,
loss, and guilt) on an intimate level.
3. The spiritual dimension (spirit) is described as a unifying force within
individuals, integrating and transcending all other dimensions. This dimension is also described as God-consciousness, or related to a deity or supreme values. It is concerned with the meaning of life, individual
perceptions of faith, and an individual’s relationship to the Ultimate Being.