On many occasions, experts in the field of social psychology have defended the idea that the human being is a social being by nature.
But what does this statement really mean and what implications can a lack have in humans in the relationship they establish with their environment?
The needs of human beings: what are they?
The Hierarchy of Needs proposed by Abraham Maslow was presented in 1943 as a pyramid-shaped model where five types of needs that human beings must meet are shown ordered according to their complexity and relevance given to the achievement of the maximum state of personal growth. At the basic level are physiological needs (e.g. food), followed by security needs (protection of the individual), social acceptance needs (belonging and love), self-esteem needs (assessment of one’s own status) and, already at a higher level, the needs for self-actualization (self-fulfillment).
The first four classes of needs are called “deficit” because it is possible to satisfy them at a given moment, while the fifth is called “need to be” because it can never completely satisfy, it is continuous. As an individual achieves the satisfaction of the most basic needs, his interest in meeting the needs of higher levels increases. This upward movement in the pyramid is defined as a force of growth. On the contrary, the decline in the pursuit of increasingly primitive needs is due to the action of regressive forces.
Maslow understands that every human being aspires to meet the needs of ever higher levelsWhile he admits that not everyone wants to overcome the need for self-actualization, it seems to be a more specific goal based on the characteristics of the individual. Another important idea of the author’s model is that it highlights the relationship between action (behavior) and the will to achieve different levels of needs. Thus, unmet needs are the only ones that motivate behaviors and not those already established.
As can be seen, all components of the Maslow model’s pyramid of needs are closely related to the significant importance of the environment to humans. Thus, both the fundamental or physiological elements as well as those of security, belonging and self-esteem can only be understood and given when an individual is developing in society (at least in a psychologically adaptive way).
Relevance of environmental stimulation in humans
Countless research has shown how human development is influenced by biological or genetic factors, environmental factors and the interaction that occurs between the two. Thus, an internal predisposition is modulated by the context in which the subject develops and gives rise to a very particular conformation of the characteristics that it manifests, both at the cognitive level, as well as at the emotional or behavioral level.
Among the environmental factors to be taken into account as determining aspects of the psychological development of children are:
- The child’s relationship with the environment, The emotional links established with the reference figures resulting from the behaviors of affection and care which result therefrom.
- The perception of stability of the surrounding environment (Family, school, etc.).
Both aspects significantly influence the type of cognitive and emotional functioning that the child internalizes, the quality of his communication skills, his adaptation to the changing environment and his attitude towards learning.
An example of what was exposed in the previous paragraph is illustrated by the scientific experiment of Doctor Jean Itard with the wild child of Aveyron. The boy was found at the age of 11 in the woods observing in him behavior similar to that of a wild animal. After a substantial change in the boy’s background, he was able to acquire some social skills, although it is true that progress was limited because the environmental intervention occurred at a very late stage of development.
As for the aforementioned point on emotional ties, also may consider the role of the concept of “secondary intersubjectivity” to be relevant. Secondary intersubjectivity refers to the phenomenon that occurs in infants around one year old and consists of a form of primitive symbolic interaction between him and the mother where two types of intentional acts are combined simultaneously: the practice (like pointing towards an object) and interpersonal (smile, physical contact with the other, among others).
A deficit in achieving this evolutionary goal is determined by the establishment of an insecure emotional bond and can have significant consequences such as difficulty building one’s own symbolic world, deficits in interpersonal communication and intentional interaction. or behavioral development. autism spectrum.
The contribution of ecological or systemic theories
One of the fundamental contributions to this has been the proposals of ecological-systemic theories, which defend the relevance of intervening not only in the subject in question, but also in the different social systems where it interacts such as family, school. and others. environments such as neighborhood, peer group, etc. In turn, the different systems influence each other and influence each other simultaneously.
From this systemic conception, it is understood that individual behavior is the result of the relationship between the subject, the environment and the interaction between the two parties (transactional). The system is therefore not equal to the sum of its components; it has a different nature. In this sense, this model gives a holistic view of the human development process, assuming that all the subject’s capacities in childhood (cognitive, linguistic, physical, social and emotional) are interdependent and form an impossible global whole. specific areas.
Another characteristic offered by this theoretical proposition of child development is its dynamism, so that the context must be adapted to the needs of the subject to facilitate the process of maturation. The family as the main system in which the development of the child takes place also has these three peculiarities discussed (holism, dynamism and transactional) and must be responsible for providing the child with a safe physical and psychological context that ensures growth. . all areas of development indicated.
Relationship between the concept of resilience and socio-cultural deprivation
The theory of resilience arose from the work of John Bowlby, principal author of the theories of affection established between the child and the emotional reference figure. This concept has been adopted by the mainstream of positive psychology and has been defined as the ability to deal with adversity actively, effectively and therefore reinforced by it. Research shows that resilient people have lower rates of psychopathological disorders because this phenomenon becomes a protective factor.
In relation to the theme of socio-cultural deprivation, the Theory of Resilience explains that the person exposed to an environment that is not very stimulating and conducive to development (which could be understood as an adversity) he can overcome this complication and achieve satisfactory development which allows it to move forward through the various vital stages in an adaptive manner.
Intervention in case of socio-cultural deprivation: compensatory education programs
Compensatory education programs aim to reduce the limits of education in groups that suffer from socio-cultural and economic deprivations that prevent them from successfully integrating into society as a whole. Its ultimate goal is to create a positive bond between family, school and community..
These programs are located in an explanatory ecological or systemic perspective, therefore, they prioritize to orient their intervention in the environmental context in which the individual is limited by analyzing and modifying (if necessary) the economic factors, offering psycho-educational orientations on the relevance of collaborating with the school environment, address students’ emotional issues and work to promote teacher education.
Throughout the text, it has been observed and contrasted to what extent the enriching quality and nature of the context in which an individual develops is decisive in facilitating or bringing it closer to greater emotional or psychological well-being. Once again, we show that the way in which the different factors are interdependent is very diverse, Both internal or personal and external or environmental, to shape the way in which the individual development of each human being takes place.
Therefore, in the field of psychology, attribution of a certain psychological event or functioning to a single concrete and isolated cause cannot be correct.
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