Aside from instinctual actions, behaviors are largely driven by emotion, where action can be driven by the emotional state at the time. In the same vein, individuals are susceptible to being attached to a construct, whether it is a tangible object or an idea, which then becomes detrimental in terms of rationality to their cognitive behavior—but it is not the sole factor for why and how an individual may act a certain way. The surrounding environment is an important factor in how a certain behavior may appear in an individual. A distinctive attribute or aspect of an environment creates the inducement and encouragement to be engaged in a particular kind of behavior; the incentive does not originate from a certain type of individual, contrary to popular belief. Collectively, human beings are quick to identify or react to slight changes, signals, or influences in their environment, and it is due to this that they are easily provoked to partake in particular ...view middle of the document...
Daniel Gilbert expressed a similar idea in his written work: “Immune to Reality.” The idea is that individuals make up excuses for their behavior with a defense mechanism because of their psychological immune system. Together, both authors agree that one’s actions are not always conscious behaviors. If the psychological immune system applies to the role of context mentioned in Gladwell’s essay, then it would reshape how individuals approach situations, their behavior, and emotional responses. Rather than letting this psychological immune system devise excuses in defense of a behavior, or “cooking the facts,” awareness of these tendencies of the human mind should be raised in order to produce cultural change.
Humans are apt to possess feelings that are in the spur of a moment, and that results in the creation of decisions with an ignorance to any upcoming possible consequences and a shifting the blame of the consequences—if they are not disregarded—for a more immediate gratification. Every action has a specific response afterwards, and the response heavily depends on what kind of action is made. It is mentioned in Gilbert’s essay that individuals adjust to coping with significant matters because of the fact that the psychological immune system allows it, though the suggestion of how to handle minor problems is never presented. While taking into account the different factors that trigger an individual’s psychological immune system, Gilbert introduces the fact that “a defensive system must respond to threats… the psychological immune system is a defensive system… [it] cooks facts and shifts blame in order to offer us a more positive view” (139). A person is not usually aware of their defenses as it may just seem as though they are brushing off certain situations—but there is an explanation. The psychological immune system is a defense mechanism that is mainly for circumstances that are extreme and intense, hence the “intensity trigger” existing and making its impact. Much of the “intensity trigger” is very similar to Gladwell’s “tipping point.”
Gilbert, Daniel. "Immune of Reality." The New Humanities Reader. By Richard E. Miller and
Kurt Spellmeyer. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2012. 22-38. Print.