In todays world we are taught from a very young age to behave in a specific manner. We are socially prescribed to adhere to specific norms and roles that constitute a certain type of behavior deemed acceptable by societal standards. Acceptable behavior is often situational and environmentally specific, as behavior in a gym differs immensely from that of a classroom.
For example there are table manner/behaviors we all abide by, therefore, while eating at the dinner table you would not reach into the bowl of mashed potatoes with your hands to get yourself a serving, you would use some sort of utensil. Something we are taught as babies, to use a fork and knife, with the exception of certain foods.
We are continually reinforced to be aware and conscious of our actions and behaviors as there are social norms we must adhere to or be subjected to social ridicule. Our behavior is therefore explicit as we are making a conscious effort behave and act in a particular way.
However, there are still implicit behaviors we face that can effect our behaviors unconsciously. We unknowing behave in ways that we often times were taught implicitly as well as past notions and experiences we were exposed to can be cataloged in our brain without our knowledge of doing so.
For example you attitude is very much an implicit social behavior, as you have no control over how someone or something will make you feel. Your attitude is motivated by a past experience that is consciously unremembered. For example my sister for as long as I can remember has absolutely hated corn, she was repulsed by it. She insisted it had nothing to do with the taste but just the thought of putting a spoon full of corn in her mouth made her gage. Later we found out that as a toddler my sister actually choked on some corn and nearly choked to death, she has no recollection of this event but her mind unconsciously made the association that corn is bad and she should not eat it.
Self-esteem is also an implicit operation as we unaware of our constant unconscious attitudes towards ourselves. Specifically our projections onto other objects. If you unfortunate process are very negative attitude towards yourself and your self esteem is very low, you are more than likely to put others down, as you yourself put yourself down, bullies for example.
Stereotypes operate implicitly as stereotypes can drive our treatment or expectations of others. For instance gender role stereotypes, conversations you have with a girl may differ than a conversation with a boy as you assume certain gender roles are in play. If you approach a girl you may be more inclined to talk about a reality TV show, fashion or other gender typical topics. For a boy you may be more likely to discuss sports or truck etc. We unconsciously adjust out additives based on previous knowledge we have abstained through experience.
Implicit behavior is a huge part of our social existence and developed as we learn and grow through our childhood. Your attitude, self-esteem, and believed stereotypes are unconsciously instilled in us by our parents, teacher or any other authoritative figure in our lives. We have no control over who influences us and what we implicitly learn, therefore it is very important for older generations to be very cautious in thee presence of young adolescence because you can never know what their minds will decide to take in.
Hoping to be a future elementary school educator this is of great interest to me. My focus, constituting next week, will be focused primarily on learning in adolescence as I believe to be beneficial to me as a future educator, as well as anyone planning on being a future parent, so stay tuned 🙂
Greenwald, A. G. & Banaji, M. R. (1995). Implicit Social Cognition: Attitudes, Self-Esteem, and Stereotypes, 102(1), p. 4-27.