The three variables which determine human behavior.
1. Past history of conditioning or learning.
I think we can agree that for the most part when we come into this world we are virtually a blank page. Hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year the environment fills up this blank page. Schools, churches, friends, parents, and any other part of the environment we interact with puts it’s imprint, teaching or fills up those blank pages. In china, its no surprise they speak Chinese, in Germany, of course they speak German. Not only do they speak the appropriate language, but also they learn most of the individual elements of their culture. If you break it down even more, they learn the peculiarities of their neighborhoods. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. We are products of our environment. Yes, I know the one about one brother becomes a priest and the other a criminal. You get caught by saying they both lived in the same environment. There is no such thing as “the same environment’. The brothers each have very unique experiences growing up.
2. Conditions that are present at the time of the behavior.
People don’t usually speak if there is no one there to speak to. We think these people as being rather odd. People usually don’t poop on the living room floor. They look for a bathroom. People don’t usually try to drink from a stool. They look for a fountain. People don’t talk at hearing end of a phone. Now, often one will see a little baby do many of the above behavior. Why”, they have not learned the appropriate behaviors for these situations. As time goes on and the baby interacts with people and the rest of the environment, he/she learns the appropriate behavior for the various situations. All of these behavior in 1.and 2. above are very simple behaviors which is a good place to start to see that are a function of something. That something is Past history of learning and the Conditions present at the time of the behavior. If one is unable to see how these simple behavior are learned put forth in certain environments then there is no need to go into much more complex behavior at this time.
3. Level of deprivation or level of need.
This one is more difficult to see at times. The old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, is not true. All you have to do is wait until the horse is thirsty, or in need of water, and he will drink. If you just finished with sex, usually one needs to wait a bit for the next round, or have the need build up a bit. Unless you are 14 to 25 years old. They have a high level of deprivation much of the time. If you are thirsty, you will drink. If you are hungry, you will eat given there if no incompatible stuff going on. Usually, a rich man will not sleep under a bridge. He can get a hotel or go home. He does not have much deprivation for shelter at this time.
Now, it is the interaction of these three variables that determine if a behavior is engaged in. It appears very simple, but it gets very complex . But, its brief and to the point without philosophy entering into it at this time.