HUMAN behaviour has perplexed man since ages and what has intrigued him most is why two human beings act differently when exposed to the same set of circumstances. Understanding our own minds can be tricky enough, but understanding others’ minds can be mindboggling. At every moment of our life, we have to decide what to say, to think, wonder or answer some very irksome questions that keep cropping up unannounced in our minds. We keep planning what we should cook today, what we would like to eat or wear, when we would go to sleep, what we would do when reprimanded and how we should behave and so on. This book tries to provide answers to some of these questions by making use of psychology to understand our own and others’ minds and presents a ‘distillation’ of the most up-to-date psychological research on human behaviour.
The book begins by a chapter on personality which denotes a selectively stable set of characteristics that help determine the way we think, feel and act. By studying or learning about one’s personality, we can understand why he acts as he does and how he is likely to behave in the future. Though Sigmund Freud had become a renowned psychoanalyst by 1920, it was Gordon Allport (1897-1967) who became an eminent psychologist of the 20th century and said that we do not always behave in accordance with our dominant personality traits.
The author, through case studies and observation of human behaviour, states that the latter is often determined not by our personality or mood or morality – that is, the internal factors – but by the particular situations in which we find ourselves. As such, there are examples of social psychology – the effort to understand the ways in which our thoughts, feelings and behaviour are influenced by people around us; issues as diverse as the effect upon us of religion, class, family and work environment. Social psychologists have examined why people behave as they do, or why they are attracted to one another, or why under certain conditions they are even prepared to kill or even allow others to be killed.
This book gives basic information on human psychology.
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