In this article, I will share some of my thoughts on the question: Does human behaviour change with situations? From my experience, it most certainly does.
Think about it for a minute.
Would you behave the same in a Church as you would at a party?
You may sit quietly at a party, the way you would in a Church but you definitely would not be drinking alcohol, talking loudly and dancing suggestively in a Church.
Different situations require different behaviours to be effective and we will explore the reasons for this in my blog post.
Does Human Behaviour Change With Situations?
Yes. Human behaviour does change with situations. This can happen consciously or subconsciously. It is always more effective if we are in control of our behaviours. However, sometimes, especially when our emotions are extreme, we may react to a situation and this results in behaviours that we sometimes regret. If we apply the same behaviours to every situation we run the risk of becoming inefficient and ineffective. The objective is to achieve the results that we want and that requires situational changes in our behaviour.
Different situations tend to bring out different emotions and behaviours in human beings.
Some situations cause us to behave positively and others result in negative or unattractive behaviour towards others.
People may also act differently in different situations depending on their environment, the people they are with, and their own personal experiences. For example, a person may be outgoing and talkative in one situation, but shy and quiet in another.
There are some people who have mastered the art of being calm and assertive in almost all situations. These are people who I admire and who I use as a model for my own growth and development.
What Makes Human Behaviour Change In Situations?
So what makes human behaviour change in different situations?
Human behaviour can change in situations due to a variety of factors, including external influences, internal motivations, and environmental conditions. External influences can include social pressures, cultural norms, and the opinions of others. Internal motivations can include personal goals, values, and beliefs.
Our environmental conditions can include the physical surroundings, the availability of resources, and the presence of stressors, both positive and negative. The latter has a huge and significant impact on the way human beings behave in situations.
Eustress, (positive stress), is an enabler. Receiving good news about a job or acceptance at your favourite college can result in someone who is sad or depressed feeling exuberant and excited in a matter of seconds. The reverse is also true with (dis)stress.
External stimuli, such as rewards and punishments are also environmental factors that create different situations in which we behave differently.
Then there is the role of comfort levels in situations and how that impacts human behaviour.
For example, you may be outgoing and talkative in a social setting, but shy and reserved in a professional setting. You may also act differently when you are in a group versus when you are alone. Additionally, you may act differently when you are in a familiar environment versus an unfamiliar one.
Which Has A More Powerful Effect On Behavior Personality Or Situation?
Both personality and situations can have a powerful effect on human behaviour.
Personality can influence how a person reacts to certain situations, while the situation itself can also play a significant role in determining behaviour. For example, a person with a naturally outgoing personality may be more likely to initiate a conversation with a stranger, while a person with a more reserved personality may be more likely to keep to themselves.
As a chronic introvert, I can attest to this. There were situations in my teenage years when I would not walk into an elevator because I was afraid that someone would speak to me.
A Manager I admired, sat me down one day and made it clear that, as good an employee as I was, there was no way I would progress up the corporate ladder if I did not learn how to communicate and socialize with others appropriately in different situations.
With practice and over time, I became comfortable adapting my behaviour in social situations. Highly social events demanded that even the more reserved person, (like me), engage in conversation.
Ultimately, the interplay between personality and situations can be complex and it is difficult to determine which has the more powerful effect on behaviour.
I tend to agree, however, that personality has a more powerful effect on human behaviour than situations.
Personality is a set of characteristics that make up an individual’s unique psychological construct, while situations refer to the context in which a person finds themselves. That is the different roles that they play.
Because it is more deeply ingrained and difficult to change, personality may be more influential in determining human behaviour.
Some Examples Of How Human Behaviour Can Change With Situations
To help you better understand how human behaviour may change in different situations, I have outlined 10 of the more common examples below.
People may become more,
1. aggressive in a competitive environment.
2. cooperative in a collaborative environment.
3. risk-averse in a dangerous situation.
4. outgoing in a social setting.
5. focused in a quiet environment.
6. creative in an inspiring environment.
7. relaxed in a comfortable environment.
8. likely to take risks in a situation where they feel safe and secure.
9. cautious in a situation where they feel threatened or uncertain.
10. passive in environments that are abusive and controlling.
My Closing Thoughts . . .
Human behaviour is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, environment, culture, and past experiences. Situations can also play a significant role in shaping behaviour, as different contexts may elicit different responses from individuals.
For example, a person may behave differently in a formal business setting compared to a casual social gathering. Additionally, the presence of certain stimuli or the absence of others can also influence behaviour.
In another example, a person may behave differently in the presence of danger or stress compared to a relaxed and safe environment.
Overall, human behaviour is a complex and dynamic process that is shaped by many different factors, including situations.
Call To Action
Role Analysis training is an effective method to help you understand how you behaviours may be restricted and how to expand your behavioural tool kit.
After all, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Learn how Role Analysis can help you manage your behaviours more effectively and assertively by clicking HERE.
About The Author
Hi! I am Cassandra, the Founder and Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer at LaMP International Limited.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this article. I trust that you have enjoyed reading it and that it helped you to better understand how human behaviour changes with situations.
I have been working within the Behaviour and Change Management space for over twenty (20) years. It continues to serve me well in my roles as a mother, sibling, partner, facilitator, coach, strategist, change agent and entrepreneur.
Coming from the Caribbean, we are born into very diverse and inclusive cultures. Change is a way of life – a passion, so to speak, for us.
For almost 40 years, I have been working around the world with thousands of people, helping to rethink behaviours, structures and organisations.
My work has impacted industries such as Energy, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Media and Management Consulting in roles that took me from a staff position all the way to the E and C suites.
I love working with people and organisations and helping them become more effective, successful and sustainable.
Reach out to me if I can assist you in any way and help you to Change Your Script!