Individuals and society

Foundational Concept 8: Psychological, socio-cultural, and biological factors influence the way we think about ourselves and others.
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8A: Who exactly are we? How do we develop our morals and patterns of learning? What influences our behaviors in social situations? Physicians must have a keen understanding of their patients’ definitions of themselves in order to treat holistically. Over the past few centuries, several notable psychologists - from Freud to Erikson to Vygotsky - have attempted to answer these grand question. In this module you will explore some of their ideas surrounding the concept of self-identity as we delve into the different phases of our life as we transform from infants to teenagers to full-fledged adults.

Social behavior

8C: Who are we attracted to and why? Why do some people behave aggressively and others altruistically? These are questions we can begin to answer through an understanding of social behavior. This tutorial will help you answer these questions as well as give you insight into the basics of attachment and the relationships we have with our parents and those around us as we explore some of the aspects that govern our interactions with other human beings.

Biological explanations of social behavior in animals

Nature vs. nurture: are animal behaviors taught or genetically passed down from generation to generation? Here we explore how social behaviors, like genuinely caring about the well being of those in your community, are more “nature” than “nurture.”


Why is it that some traits like skin color, religion, or cultural values have more meaning than others like eye color or personality? Here we explore how discrimination begins as a stereotype and can escalate into behaviors that can negatively influence whole communities of people.