Week 9: Human Behavior

This week’s lecture we talked about the movement and gestures communication of human being and the baboons behavior through the video, Baboons as Friends, by the filmmaker Rachel Mayeri. These projects remind me about a topic of attitudes and behavior—sometimes human being’s attitude is opposite with their behavior, it means that their thought does not match up with their action. And another study of the human behavior psychology is also interested me a lot, which psychologists can analyze human’s mentality and their emotion via gestures communication.thought_cues stangorsocial_1.0-fig01_001

A case study in 1934 raised by Richard LaPiere, who was a professor of sociology at Stanford University,   the aim of this case is to “investigate the relationship between attitudes and behavior.” In order to explore his concept, “LaPiere travelled round America with a Chinese couple, expecting to meet discrimination as result of anti Chinese feeling.” Because at that time the behavior of the discrimination to Asians was widespread in America. “They visited 67 hotels and 184 restaurants. Six months later, after their return, all the establishments they had visited were sent a letter, asking whether they would accept Chinese guest.” The results of this research is that “they were only refused at one of the establishments they visited, and were generally treated very politely. Of the 128 establishments which responded to the letter, 91% said they were not willing to accept Chinese guests.” According to this investigation, the conclusion is that the behavior is not always following the attitude if it is not necessary in the society. For example, some people’s behavior provoked you a lot, but because you have a really close relationship with this person, and you cannot break the relationship, you have to refrain the emotion and control yourself’s behavior—this is a very general example that can explain the reason why “attitudes do not always predict behavior.”

Another research of the human behavior combines with the psychology field. For example, the micro-expression shows people’s emotion and their behavior—when the person is happy, the corners of the mouth will up warp, the eyelid will be contracting, and the eye tail will form with the shape of the “crow’s feet”. Also, the facial features of the sadness including squinting, tighten eyebrows, the corner of the mouth will drop down, and the chin will be tighten and lift. These are two examples of the micro-expression. Otherwise, some micro-gestures also can tell the “truth” of human’s thoughts. One example is keeping playing with stuffs at hand. Inexperienced people will think that your attention is in somewhere else rather than the person who you are talking with, but professionals can exactly see that you actually very care about that person. Because of your nervous mood, you are unconsciously using something at hand to temporary transfer and release the tension.


Through these different examples of human behavior I find that human’s gestures and face expressions are very interesting because sometimes it is not the truth, but sometimes it can tell the truth.

Source: http://www.simplypsychology.org/attitudes.html

-Mengchun Tao


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