Adaptation is the process whereby living things get used to situations that they are not used to them. Such situation maybe good or bad and in most of the instances, the situation is bad and require sacrifices of the living things. Ariely & Jones (2010) gives example of frogs. If a frog is dipped in a hot boiling water, it adjusts itself and leap out of the water. However, if it is placed in water which is at room temperature, the frog remains there contended. If the temperature is increased gradually, the frog keeps on adjusting itself and bear up with heat. If the temperatures continue to increase, the frog continues with the process and this may go until it boils to death. This is one of the disadvantages of adaptation. Adaptations make people and other living things remain in uncomfortable situation up to a point where they cannot bear up with the situation and thus die. However, if at the beginning they never adapted to the wrong or bad situation, and they just left. The human beings or the living thing would have survived. The case of adaptation is applied in so many scenarios in human life. For example, in sales and marketing, prices of commodities are increased gradually and people never notice the increase and if they do, they adapt and the prices continue rising. It has been the same case with changes in climate that global warming has come to be. If humans noticed the changes in temperatures initially, they would have stopped destroying the environment, however, they tolerated the problems of global warming which were slowly developing until they became extreme.
The upside of adaptation is that it helps human beings to thrive in bad or uncomfortable situations. For example, Ariely and Jones (2010) narrates how patients in a certain hospital were subjected to the test of adaptation. After the study, it came to be realized the patients who had been subjected to extreme problems before such as the armies could remain in the hot water for a longer time than those who do not have a history of being in extreme trouble. The study indicated the upside of adaption, it helps human being survive uncomfortable situation which they would have otherwise not survived. People who adapt to pain or unpleasant conditions have a lot of hope. They tolerate the unpleasant conditions hoping that it would get better. This is called hedonic adaptation. It is a process where people get used to their surroundings despite their shortcomings. Hedonic treadmill is a term reefing to the process whereby human beings get excited by having new things in life. However, the new things only excite them for a while before getting used to them and then look out to have something better and new and the process continues.
Many factors lead people react less compassionately to events which are more atrocious but far away from them than those less atrocious but close to them. Some of these factors includes lack of information. Ariely and Jones (2010) also stated that people generally express apathy towards extreme sufferings or a situation where many people are suffering unlike the case where they empathize with few people who are suffering. It is for that reason that people give huge sums of money to individuals close to them for help and disregard others who are far away and in dire need of help than the one close to them. This is because they are less sympathetic with those who are far away and cannot be seen. Additionally, people sympathize more with things that they can see than those which they cannot see according to the identifiable victim effect. Closeness to the people who are in need of help plays a big role, it brings out a feeling of kinship. The people who are in trouble and close to us can be seen thus the concept of vividness applies. People sympathize more with what they can see than what they cannot see and is vague to them. Additionally, the other factor is a drop in the bucket effect. People feel that their contribution to those who are far away is insignificant but they can help the less troubled people who are close to them.
Conventionally, one would expect that appeal to emotions would provoke people to be thoughtful, rational and thus help the suffering victims. The sensible people would find reason to help the victim who is in trouble. However, this is not the case. People rely on emotions while giving help instead of relying on their rationality. Rationality makes people less sympathetic and cold towards a problem. For example, in the case of Rokia and the general problem of hunger in Africa, a reasonable person may give small equal contribution to both cases despite the fact that one is greater than the other. Alternatively, a reasonable person would find no sense in helping a case and yet his or her assistance would not have any tangible impact.
Decisions made based on emotions have a much bigger impact on human beings' life than those done after giving them a thought. Actions based on emotions are very strong, they have a great impact either good or bad. If the impact was good, one is likely to carry on with the act considering its good effect. The process of self-herding also has a big influence on our future decisions. Individuals have a likelihood to repeat their past behaviors.
Ariely, D., & Jones, S. (2010). The upside of irrationality (p. 352). New York: HarperCollins.
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