Biological, Social and Cognitive Influences in Pro and Anti-Social Behavior Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Biological, Social and Cognitive Influences in Pro and Anti-Social Behavior Anti-social behavior is that which ignores the considerations of other individuals by causing damage intentionally or unintentionally. Pro-social behavior on the other hand is voluntary behavior that is intended towards benefiting other people. This involves conducts that are collectively useful for the society as a whole.

Pro-social behavior includes actions like helping, donating, sharing, volunteering and cooperating with others. Both pro and anti-social conducts have their influences mostly from biological, social and cognitive factors. The biggest social influence in both behaviors is the media. The media is the highest influence in the conduct of many young people in society.

This is in consideration of what is heard and visualized and how it affects one’s actions. Behavioral influence occurs in three stages namely, observation, imitation and modeling. Observation is noted when a person accords attention to what they see, hear or another individual’s actions. The observers do not just see or hear but attend to the acquired actions through the learn factor.

This is always important in teaching a child how to help others. Imitation involves replicating someone else’s actions; however, it does not mean exact copying. This is also a good way towards making a child learn good and pro-social behaviors. If a parent practices good behavior, then their child is more likely to adopt the same (Brown, 2005). Modeling concerns the development of mental presentations that embody appropriate behavior.

This is however noted in a context where the child is imitating and observing certain actions. It is involves how the child actually learns positive or negative behaviors. Children are more likely to learn positive behaviors other than negative ones, as modeled by parents and the society. Children who watch television may develop pro-social or antisocial behaviors with regard to programs watched. Contributions that make watching television more pro-social include the promotion of sharing in order to achieve a common end, support of altruistic characteristics and encouraging active involvement, and helping others. Exposure to such pro-social messages by children from the media influence constructive behaviors.

Statistics have indicated that there are approximately six acts of sympathetic behavior and ten of altruistic behavior in every hour of television programming. The media also has a role in the contribution towards aggressive behavior. When children view suffering, their sensitivity towards them reduces. Children from three to four years up to the age of puberty watch television. This means that they are usually exposed to violent scenes frequently.

Violent behavior is instigated more by television than any other source. Other social contributors of behavioral characteristics are the public and immediate family. If a child grows up in a violent home, they are more likely to adopt these behaviors in their development patterns. Similarly, when a child grows up in a violent neighborhood, they are also more likely to develop the same behaviors. The inverse of these two situations also holds as true (Kinney, & Porhola, 2009). Biological causes of pro-social and antisocial behaviors are usually entrenched in development ages. This means that depending on the age of a child, one is able to determine whether they are likely to develop anti or pro-social behaviors. In the early years of a child, between three to five years, a child mostly learns how to be pro-social.

A child learns how to help others, how to care and how to do good things that he sees from the media or the family setting. Here the child is still discovering the world and therefore does their best to please those that are around them. Moreover, a child is incapable of having bad behavior in this age as their parents are always with them and they make most of the decisions for them. During this age, pro-social behavior is usually instilled in the child. From age five to age ten, the child has acquired a few freedoms like going to school, going out to play and socializing. Here the child is unsupervised and therefore is expected to make decisions for himself.

At this age, the child is very curious and therefore tries many things. Moreover, at this age, the child makes and breaks many friendships as their choices, tastes and preferences change frequently. At this age, the child is able to develop anti-social behavior or remain in the pro-social behaviors that were taught to them since birth. Anti-social behaviors like bullying, fighting and picking on others are practiced here. Lack of communication with peers and loneliness are also common in this age. This age is also characterized with withdrawal from the public due to puberty, which starts here (Clarke, 2003). At puberty, children usually have many mixed feelings due to their emotional imbalance and the physical changes that they experience. The emotional imbalance leads to children setting their most important life choices; this is either to become pro-social or anti-social.

Age is the most common biological determinant of the behavior of a child. Other biological determinants include genetics. A person could be born violent or a thief or a serial killer.

Genetic stringing and developments usually make it possible for a bloodline to have one thief or violent person per generation. Cognitive determinants of behavioral characteristics work in the sense that once a child views violent or peaceful images, it triggers memories of other similar incidents and causes them to react in that manner. This works in the sense that when a child sees too much of a certain behavior, this is indented in the child’s brain as a way of solving his/her problems. For instance, if they see many violent solutions to problems, they are always gong to use this method to solve their problems. Here, what the child frequently sees, acts as a mould that shapes his/her behavior to become either pro-social or anti-social.

Cognitive determinants of behavioral characteristics work psychologically in the brain of the child to make them believe that whatever they grew up seeing is the right behavior to carry themselves with. Reference: Brown, D. (2005). Pro-social and anti-social behaviour: lesson plans and resources 2005-2006. New York, NY: ZigZag Education. Clarke, D.

(2003). Pro-Social and Anti-Social Behaviour. New York, NY: Routledge. Kinney, T.

A., & Porhola, M. (2009). Anti and pro-social communication: theories, methods, and applications. New York, NY: Peter Lang.


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