Essay Samples on Human Development and Human Behavior

Published: 2018-03-17
Essay Samples on Human Development and Human Behavior
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Human behavior Human development Developmental psychology
Pages: 19
Wordcount: 5075 words
43 min read

Essay Sample #1 - Human Development Theories

Human development is the process that involves the enlarging of the opportunities and freedom of people with the objecting of ensuring that their well-being is improved. Human development is when a human being has the freedom to make decisions on their own such as what is to be done, who one can be and how one lives his or her life. When describing human development, Researcher Sameh Elsayed says that each creature is a unique piece of art to be respected and believed in. once we realize this, equality follows.

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Human development theories

Related theories are consequentially used to explain human behavior by exhibiting human interaction or reaction to given stimuli. Examples of the theories include systems theory, psychodynamic theory, social learning theory among others.

Thomas seems to be experiencing a combination of psychological and moral dilemmas, which have led to a situation in which he is confused, frustrated and uncertain. He is at a stage in his life where such emotional conflicts and challenges are standard and in fact anticipated, and is clearly uncertain as to how to cope or handle these issues.

Well known theorists like Erickson (psychosocial development) and Kholberg (moral development) have postulated that individuals are expected to face certain standard issues and difficulties at various stages of their life, and to not have such experiences is the aberration as opposed to having them which is the norm, and expected.

Erick Erickson psychosocial theory

According to Erick Erickson, (1956) the stages a person goes through are determined by their environment or socialization standards. He theorized that as we grow and develop, our mode of operation is determined by the developmental stage, which is a direct result of social upbringing.

One critical stage of development which he put forward was “Identity vs. Role Confusion.” This is a phase which generally occurs between the ages of 12 – 18, the adolescent years. During this stage, Erickson theorized that the individual experiences the most difficult period because he/she is now faced with the difficult position of being caught between adulthood and childhood.

It is a transitional period which can be smooth and well handled, or it can be a frustrating, confusing experience, which can result in chaos, frustration and even anger. When a person is unsure of who he/she is, or what his/her role is in the world, it is a situation which can shape or mold the character of an individual permanently. As a result, particularly careful guidance and mentoring is needed in the life of such a person at this time.

Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory

Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory is an interesting theory that deals with development of the intelligence of the human brain and its nature. There are several instances where Thomas interacts to various stimuli by not being close to his family because he is not comfortable going away. He reacts to the peer pressure from friends thus the explanation of the cognitive development theory.

He doesn’t want to go to college but remain around to get a job, an apartment and get a car to enjoy the company of the friends. According to the case study, “but right now what he really wants is just to stay in the area and get a job and an apartment so he can hang out with all his friends who are not going away to college”.

Clearly, Thomas is experiencing the symptoms associated with this particular stage of development. He is unsure whether he is ready to leave high school or not, because perhaps he does not yet see himself as an adult, ready to face the obstacles and challenges associated with being an adult. He wants things to remain the same, hanging out with his friends, indulging in activities with which he is familiar and comfortable.

He feels angry and frustrated because the changes he must inevitably face are beyond his control, the rebellious feelings are a direct result of his unconscious, inner uncertainty as to how to make the inevitable transition. He is also displaying anger towards his family, which is again a clear indication of his feelings of confusion.

He doesn’t fully see himself as an adult, yet he believes he is fully capable of making his own decisions. He feels annoyed by his aren’t and family because he believes they are trying to control him, to tell him what to do. Yet he views their input or intervention as unnecessary, as he believes he is fully capable of making his own decisions.

These feelings of uncertainty, apprehension, role confusion have become so intense that they have caused extreme anger and resentment in Thomas. His emotions are further compounded by the anger and ineptitude he probably feels as a result of his girlfriend leaving him, and so he has gotten to the place where he probably needs anger management counselling.

Lawrence Kohlberg theory of moral development

The theory of Morality proposed by Lawrence Kohlberg (1958), is also one which could be applied to the case of Thomas. According to Kohlberg, there are three basic stages of morality. The Pre-Conventional Stage, The Conventional Stage and the Post Conventional stage. During these stages, the individual develops different levels of morality, which help to determine his or her behavior to a large extent.

During the Pre-Conventional stage, usually occurring in childhood, morality is determined based on standards established by those in authority, coupled with the fear of punishment. Children are unable to truly tell right from wrong, and so must be told, based on social norms and standards.

During the Conventional Stage, individuals begin to internalize the established morals of society, choosing to do so to fit in and meet societal expectations. They gain a better understanding of why certain behaviors are acceptable or not, but in this stage, they will often choose to go along with what is expected of them, even if they themselves see those behaviours as wrong.

It is this stage which seems most applicable to Thomas. He has learned that certain things are expected of him – going to college, getting a certain type of education, maintaining certain types of relationships. He is desirous of meeting social expectations, but at the same time wants to do what he thinks is best for him.

Another indication of Thomas’ conflicting feelings could be the fact that he attempts to vent his anger and frustration in the privacy of his room, when no one else is around, he has feelings of remorse about showing this type of behavior around others as he believes it will be frowned upon and disapproved of. This s proved by “he was convinced he wanted to go into engineering, but now he is not so sure”.

So despite his personal misgivings about what is happening in his life, and where things seem to be headed as opposed to where he would want them to be, he attempts to control outward manifestations of these feelings, and maintain his status as a morally ‘upright’ citizen.

In conclusion, human behavior can be predicted and even explained through various theories psychologically. These theories are capable of explaining the interaction and reaction of human body to various stimuli. There are some traits that might stick with one’s personality till death but at the same time there are specific behaviors that changes with time.

Summary Review of Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighbourhoods (PHDCN) and the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency (PRCCD)

The goal of the Human Development in Chicago Neighbourhoods (PHDCN) project is to gain an in-depth understanding of how family setting, schools, and local neighbourhoods impact child and adolescent social behaviour. Following its implementation in the early 1990s, the project has examined violence, juvenile delinquency, adult crime, and teenage sexuality, among other behaviour outcomes. The PHDCN project has also collected extensive data about Chicago neighbourhoods, including its institutions, people, and resources, from surveys, key informant interviews, and videotaping of the streets to help analyze the environment in which social development takes place. The PHDCN focuses on the purpose of the research as opposed to a specific method, which makes it an evaluation research. Evaluation research assesses the impact of an intervention and the PHDCN fits that criterion because it evaluates the impact of the social surroundings on human behaviour.

The Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency (PRCCD) program, on the other hand, was designed to help gather more information about the factors that increase juvenile delinquency. Initiated in 1986, the goal of the program is to provide the much-needed insights to help develop effective intervention programs. It employs a longitudinal study design to enable the researchers investigate how each unique causal factor of delinquency changes over time. Based on the information presented in Chapter 13, the PRCCD program matches the criteria of a problem analysis. A problem analysis is developed to help the administration choose an appropriate course of action. The PRCCD program falls into that bracket because it is intended to help the government to develop an effective action program to reduce the rising cases of juvenile delinquency in the country.


National Institute of Justice. (2017). Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Retrieved on 24th March 2017 at

The National Center for Juvenile Justice. (2017). the Program of Research on the Causes and

Papalia, D., Olds, S., & Feldman, R. (2009). Human development (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Essay Sample #2 - Lying in Human Behavior and Its Reasons

In the course of their lives, human beings are sometimes put in a position that they have to lie. A lie is the opposite of the truth. Some lie deliberately while some would lie without realizing that they lied. Nevertheless, lying can be quite harmful to the person giving the lie and to the individual being deceived. Lying has destroyed friendship, families and even business. There are different types of lies that humans give and they do so for some reasons.

The first common type of a lie that people give is through omission. Here, individuals deliberately leave out information that they know is important to the person they are speaking to. This type of lie is easy with no much risk. The individual giving this type of a lie does not have to invent any foreign stories; rather they would need to omit some parts of the story that they are not will to share. This lie is passive, and the liar does not feel much guilt when they give it. The reasons for this type of a lie usually vary. Some omit the truth not to hurt others, in most cases being their loved once. Others overlook the truth so as not get in trouble since they know telling things as they will not benefit them.

Another foe of lie is one caused by an error. Here, a person believes whatever they are saying is the truth while in the real sense they are telling a lie. These individuals are so convinced about the position they hold such that they do not consider they can be wrong. Additionally, they feel no guilt since they think they are telling the truth, but they are lying. This type of a lie can be caused by an individual being overconfident or not having the correct information.

Lying in denial is also another common type of a lie. This type of an error is occasioned by the constant refusal to accept or acknowledge the truth. These type of lie can affect any individual, especially when think they hold a superior opinion. Furthermore, individuals who practice this kind of a lie can experience guilt especially when they realize they were wrong.

Additionally, exaggeration sometimes can lead to lying. When a person gets excited about a story they are giving, there can be a possibility of them saying things that are too far from the truth. Also, when individuals want to show that they are living a good or successful life, they might end up lying to prove their case to their peers. This kind of lie can continue for a longer period as the liar can occasionally update the lying to suit his or her situation. This kind of a lie is caused by many factors among them being pressure from other individuals who are successful in the society.

Conclusively, lying is a serious issue in the society. Many people get into a habit of lying due to different reasons. Some get into lying without knowing while others see it as the only opportunity. This makes lying to be of different types among different individuals.

Reasons of lying

In an ideal world, everyone would tell the truth and honesty would not just be the best policy but the only policy. However, it is far from an ideal world and virtually everyone has lied consciously or unconsciously. In attempting to understand the impact of lies and how to prevent being lied to, knowing the types of lies used and the major reasons and motivation beyond them is helpful.

There are a variety of criteria used to classify lies but the widely used method is classifying lies by their nature or form. In such a classification you have three main types as outlined below;

1. Lies of commission

These are the blatant types of lies where none of what is being said is factual. It basically involves twisting the truth or the correct account to suit a specific purpose. It could be a simple thing like one admitting he or she did something when the opposite is actually true or an eyewitness giving a false account of events.

2. Lies of omission

In this type of lie the account is given is true to some extent but the person leaves out vital information that would affect the evaluation of the issue or information at hand. For example, a salesperson while selling an item to a customer omits information such as the costly nature of maintenance or the fragile aspects so that the customer is more disposed to making the purchase.

3. Lies of character or influence

In this type of lie, a person gives extra information which most of the time is not sought to try and build his or her credibility and appear truthful and beyond any wrongdoing or capable of telling a lie. For example, a medical professional when asked if he is guilty of negligence answers by saying he has a professional oath and has been doing the job for years without any wrongdoing.

People use these types of lies for different purposes though many tend to be driven by the following reasons;

1. To avoid punishment

This is one of the main reasons for lying in most cases especially among children and those under superiors. When the result of telling the truth is punishment in whichever form, most people will resort to tell a false account even at the risk of being found out.

2. To maintain a sense of autonomy

This is usually among children and parties who feel lorded or desire a sense of their own freedom. Lying and not being found out provides that.

3. As a means of aggression

This is largely by people to harm others through giving the wrong information knowing the target of their lies will suffer as a consequence.

4. To manipulate the behaviors of others

Other types of lies are about being able to manipulate the behavior or action taken by others. It could be either for the benefit of the lying party or that of the party being lied to.

5. For self-esteem and creating a false identity

Other times people lie to give a wrong account that they believe will influence other people to look at them positively and in return improve their self-esteem.

Essay Sample #3 - Nature and Nurture Impact on an Individual's Behavior

The argument on whether nature or nurture is paramount to human beings has led to the presentation of various conflicting ideas within psychology. Nature can be described as the pre-wired qualities we individually possess. These qualities are usually influenced by biological factors such as the inherited genetic composition of our parents. Nurture on the other hand can be referred to as the qualities or characters we acquire from external factors such as, our surroundings, experiences, and what we learn from others.

Individuals who view nature as the primary determinant of people's behaviors are referred to as nativists while those viewing nurtures as the primary determinant are referred to as empiricists. In consideration of the behaviors that we individually possess nurture often plays a more critical role as compared to nature. Thus nurture has a more significant impact on our behavior as compared to nature. Nativists argue that the characteristics that individuals possess like their physical attributes are hereditary and that is why most members of a family often portray traits that are similar to that of a particular family member. According to nativists, this fact explains issues such why most boys are raised with fathers who are unfaithful to their partners may also grow to be disloyal. A child whose parent is easily infuriated may in most cases grow up to be an angry person since they adopted their parents' genes. To them, nature plays the most important role in the determination of an individual's behavior as compared to their nature.

However, this is not the case since at birth babies often behave in the same way and as they grow up they develop other different characters through learning and observation that are unique to them. This shows that nature only plays an essential role in determining an individual's physical attributes such as height, proneness to specific diseases, and their skin color. Two brothers who for example may be under different social classes may portray different characteristics regardless of their similarity in looks thus clearly showing their difference in life experience may have forced them to behave differently. Life experiences such as the death of parents or poverty may, for instance, make a child mature very fast. This is because such kids are forced to learn how to fend for themselves and their siblings at an early age. A child who grows up in a violent neighborhood may easily join criminal gangs since they view crime as a positive act.

In conclusion, siblings may show similarity in character because they live together and share experiences. However, as they grow and part ways, they adopt different behaviors. This indicates that nurture has a more significant impact on an individual's behavior as compared to nature. It is thus paramount for parents to impact positive attributes such as kindness, love, hard work, and generosity to their kids while they are still young since this will increase their chances of growing up to be responsible adults in their future. However, nature should not be ignored since attributes such as gender also play an essential role in the determination of a person's character.

Essay Sample #4 - Bystander Effect and Importance of Empathy

Bystander effect definition on the example of Kitty Genovese

Many are the cases that people stand to look at an individual who is in much need of help in the society. Research has stated that the more bystanders are present, the less likely that one of them will act to help. Example, in the case of the murder of Kitty Genovese, there is recorded to have been 38 witnesses who listened to a woman get assaulted for an extended period (R, 2002). What causes the ‘Bystander Effect?’ The Bystander effect is defined as the social situation phenomena where individuals are more likely to overlook a person in need as a result of social pressure. Over the years scholars have formulated a hypothesis in an attempt to understand the Bystander effect; its causes and motivating factors. Research has argued that individuals caught up in the bystander effect may be experiencing social inhibition. Social Inhibition is a social thesis that emphasizes on the individual’s disregard for negative attention from others (Banyard Victoria L, 2011). A person can withdraw from helping another person in a public place since they do not want to draw negative attention from the others.

Pluralistic ignorance is a thesis that focuses on the behavior that an individual will adapt from others in a given situation. In a case where a person is kidnapped publicly, a person may wait to see whether other people will help (Baumeister, 2008). The resulting situation is each and every individual waiting for the action of the other to act. Pluralistic ignorance is closely related to diffusion of responsibility hypothesis that argues that the burden of helping is shared to others, thus resulting in the bystander effect from the group level of the society.

Human behavior in the social environment

Human behavior is highly influenced by different factors making up the society, from the individual’s experience to culture to societal morals and values; human behavior is a dependent variable in the equation of the community. Research has stated that human behavior is different from the individual and the group level, regardless of the social dilemma on whether the person makes the society or vice versa, it would be accurate to argue that human behavior is influenced and motivated by different factors that make up the community.

The reason contributing to why, how and when an individual will help another person has been analyzed to rely on the person’s personality, the situation as well as past experiences. An individual’s personality being made of the emotions and level of altruism is seconded by the situation and the nature of values from past experiences in determining prosocial behavior. Any individual may choose whether or not to indulge in prosocial behavior, a study of the motivating factors that result in this form of expression allow us to understand the drive behind human behavior in different circumstances completely. Writing and research over extended periods of time allow social psychologists to achieve a higher understanding of prosocial behavior and contributes to the overall knowledge of human behavior in the society.

Fundamental values in humans life

Values are fundamental in ensuring one attains better clarity and sharp focus in life. Values in many ways serve as the filter or sift through which one makes the choices that define his or her personality. In many instances, life can be much easier and enjoyable when one acknowledges his or her personal values. One must strive to honor these values and attempt to live by them regardless the circumstances faced. There are three important values that people should live and acknowledge in order to cherish a happy and delightful life

A significant value that people should live by is kindness. It entails offering care to others or being generous toward other parties. When allowed to flourish, kindness can sustain humanity. It provides the template on which we all ought to engage on. Kindness can be material or immaterial. At times an individual may offer to give out or share with others material things. For instance, one can offer to give away clothes to the destitute in the society out of his own volition. Immaterially, an individual may offer his time or effort to another individual that needs it. A good example is one visiting the sick or the elderly. By providing time and company to the frail in the society as an act is a great value that brings forth personal fulfillment. Being unkind to others may bring forth feelings of guilt or personal hatred. It also breeds animosity which may make others avoid one.

Similarly, equality suffices as another value that is fundamental in the day-to-day engagements with others. Equality is essential for one to have a gratified life. Embracing equality enables one to integrate and live with others harmoniously. It also awakens one to the ills of the society which are brought about by discrimination and inequality. Equality further allows individuals to learn from others that are of different class, race or communities. This is essential in bringing forth the positivity in diversity. However, the opposite is true. People who do not value inequality in most instances do not respect the sanctity of life. They lose the essence of being human and compassionate. Inequality further brings about disunity and segregation.

Why is empathy important for leading a happy life

Ultimately, having empathy is vital for one to lead a happy life. Empathy allows one to put him or herself in the shoes of another. By trying to understand challenges or circumstances felt by others, we learn how to treat each other with respect and understanding. It also allows conflicts to be resolved amicably thus retaining old relationships and ties. When one becomes empathetic he learns to appreciate others from an objective perspective. He or she becomes less judgmental of others. However, lacking empathy one can easily become condemnatory and have shallow relationships with others.

In conclusion, values are critical to anybody that seeks to live a fulfilling life. Being at peace with onets self and his surroundings is the best balance that one can aspire to attain. It does not only have spiritual benefits but also health benefits. People with values tend to be happy and lead stress-free lives. However, individuals with no values lead shallow lives that are based on weak interpersonal relationships. By being cruel, mean, and judgmental, one continues to break down from the core. The internal struggles that such an individual affect his or her overall well-being.

Perspectives Of Empathy

Empathy is an emotional and mental state in which people can feel the pain of other people who are going through torment and difficult situation. People argue on the role of empathy regarding creating goodness in people and its ability to make people biased and lead to rush decisions without evaluating the situation and circumstance faced by people. Empathy applies in situations that people have to identify with the feelings of other people. In online dating, empathy is the leading factor in identifying with an individual without having to meet them. When people explain their situation in the case of an abusive relationship or a case in which a woman lover elopes with another man with more money attracts empathy and causes the other party to be concerned which in the end results in a relationship. However, empathy is questionable regarding causing irrational decisions in that it is possible one party can lie regarding their situation with the aim of attracting empathy from the other party.

Feeling empathy for other people according to Paul Bloom is a bad idea. Paul Bloom has identified empathy with the ability to create discord amongst people in ethnicity, racial and different opinion grounds. In politics, many leaders have used empathy as an avenue to show their sincerity and ability to identify with the suffering of their subjects. In online dating, people use traumatizing past experiences to create empathy for others which leads to affectionate distance relationships. Such decision according to Paul Bloom are irrational and can lead to illicit and one-sided relationship that can be based on utter lies from one partner in the relationship.

Setting aside empathy and using logical thinking is an important avenue of regaining control in decision making and making decisions that can have a positive impact in one’s life. There are many dangers in online dating in that there is little information regarding the other partner other than the information given by the individual himself. This situation increases the chance of being lied to and also endangering one`s life. Some people are unpredictable, and they can play nice through their ability to empathize or attract empathy only for their own good such as financial and sexual benefits. In this case, empathy causes an individual to feel broken when such a relationship does not work out which can reduce the ability of an individual to feel empathy in necessary situations in the future.

Importance Of Empathy

Roman Krznaric has distanced himself from the argument by Bloom that empathy leads to irrational decisions and can lead to dangerous situations due to lack of reason and moral guidance. In this case, Roman argues that empathy is a key motivator for individuals to help others in situations, unlike Bloom who argues that empathy reduces moral judgment and rational decision-making. In making personal decisions such as online dating, empathy is a major tool that can be used to ensure that both parties develop the affinity for each other. Empathy does not overwhelm individual’s ability to think critically but motivates people to identify with other people suffering.

Gwen Dewar, on the other hand, argues that empathy can be misinterpreted or ignored on different occasions due to lack of moral reasoning despite being aware of other people suffering. Some people can be aware and competent in reasoning and moral permissibility and ignore all the facts. In this case, people tend to be egocentric which can be damaging regarding online dating. Egocentric individuals according to Dewar only identify with their personal justification of their actions. Gwen Dewar agrees with Bloom that in such an occasion it is due to lack of moral compassion.

In conclusion, empathy is an important tool in motivating people to help others and also feel their pain, but also, it can lead to the suffering of people with different opinion or experience due to the bias caused by empathy. It can be concluded that empathy should be accompanied by moral reasoning and compassion to be able to feel the pain and situation through which individuals are going through. In this case, online dating should be based on mutual compassion and moral reasoning otherwise it can result to more heartbreaks due to lack of understanding and compassion in which individuals satisfy their own intrinsic needs.


Banyard Victoria L, M. M. (2011). Variation in Bystsnder Behavior related to Sexual and Intimate Patner Violence Prevention. Oxford: Oxford Publishes.

Baumeister. R. F, B. B. (2008). Social Psychology and Human Nature. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Mario Mikulincer, P. R. (2010). Prosocial Motives, Emotions and Behavior. New York: American Psychological Association.

Peter, F. (2013). The Bystander Effect. Psychological Bulletin , 517-37.

R, B. (2002). The Genetics and Biology of True Love: Prosocial Biological Effecst and the left Hemisphere. Psychological Review , 739-44.

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