• Question: is there any other things that can also cause people to act or their impulses or just the fact that they are in a threatening situation?

    Asked by anon-359060 on 30 Mar 2023.
    • Photo: Eileen Xu

      Eileen Xu answered on 30 Mar 2023:


      Impulsiveness is really interesting! Being under threat definitely forces you to make those snap decisions, which is really necessary to survive. People might also make impulsive decisions (not thinking of the consequences) in order to “fit in” with peers, or because it feels rewarding to them in the moment. Adolescents are exceptionally socially motivated, so peer pressure might be extra effective in making them impulsive.

    • Photo: Hannah Fawcett

      Hannah Fawcett answered on 31 Mar 2023:


      Our behaviour is shaped by lots of things – our culture, biology, upbringing, past experiences, current mood, and the specifics of the current situation that we are in. Impulse is a combination of lots of these variables – what is a natural impulse to one person may not be to another. That is why human behaviour is so fascinating!

    • Photo: Laura Joyner

      Laura Joyner answered on 31 Mar 2023:


      “The group” can have a big influence on whether someone chooses to act in a certain way. Bandura had a theory called the social cognitive theory of moral thought and action, which basically suggested that (without realising) we pre-check actions against our personal moral standards (e.g. do we think it would be OK to act this way) and this can guide whether we act in a certain way.

      However, he also suggested that we might personally think it’s OK to act a certain way (or indeed, wrong to act in a certain way), but if we think that those around us might feel differently we will tend to ‘self-regulate’ (e.g. adapt) our behaviour. More often than not, the group will ‘win’ in this situation, but sometimes if we feel *really* strongly about something we will go against them

      So, we’re more likely to act on our impulse if we think that it is acceptable for us to do it, and if we think people around us will also feel it is acceptable to act that way. For instance, maybe you’re out with friends and suddenly really want an ice cream, but maybe you passed the shop five minutes ago. If you were by yourself, then maybe you walk back to get one without thinking much about it. But whether your friends are happy to go back or not might influence whether you end up acting on that impulse (so hopefully they also want ice cream too!)

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