Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

Understanding Human Behaviour

Understanding Human Behaviour

Understanding Human Behaviour

Many people have problems understanding the behaviour of others.

Not only do we have trouble understanding the behaviour and the minds of others, we sometimes have trouble understanding ourselves.

The mind is difficult to understand because it is an invisible, non-material thing.

Your mind is immaterial. By contrast, your body is material.

If there is something wrong with your physical body, then that illness is self-evident. For example, if you have a heavy cold, then that is self-evident; as is the cause, and the remedy.

By contrast, if one has a mental problem, then that is not always immediately self-evident, since the mind is non-physical. It is invisible to everyone except its possessor, ie only you can perceive your mind, and if your mind is malfunctioning, then that fact may not be obvious to others. The cause and the remedy may be difficult to find.

In order to understand human behaviour, one can refer to two disciplines that attempt to explain why people behave the way they do. The two disciplines are: Philosophy and Psychology.


Philosophy is the broader term. Philosophy is the sum of all your thoughts relating to the following issues:

  1. Religion. Does God exist?
  2. Metaphysical issues: Such as is there life after death.
  3. Epistemology. The study of what constitutes valid knowledge.
  4. Logic. The study of correct reasoning.
  5. Ethics. The study of good and evil.
  6. Politics. The study of government; and who should rule, and by what means.
  7. Economics. The study of the creation and distribution of wealth.
  8. Aesthetics. The study of good taste in the arts: music, literature, architecture, photography, fashion, etc.


Psychology is the narrower term. Psychology is a fledgling science and sets out to understand the human mind and behaviour by means of using the "Scientific method", which is based upon observation and experimentation.

The problem that psychologists have in studying the mind, is that the mind is a NON physical entity, with no mass, no shape, no form.

You cannot put a person's mind under the microscope and study it. You can put their brain under a microscope, but the mind is a product of the brain; the mind is not the brain.

So, you could study Einstein's brain for an eternity and you will never find E=MC2 printed inside it. Nor will you find Einstein's personality.

So, psychology as a science, must content itself to inferring its content from the things that it can measure, such as overt behaviour.

Psychology also spends a lot of time looking at the senses, and what happens to behaviour in people who have suffered brain injuries or deformation.

Essentially, the science of psychology is a set of conflicting theories, rather than a defined science, such as chemistry.

If you contrast the state of knowledge of chemists, to the state of knowledge of psychologists, you will soon come to the conclusion that chemists know more about the behaviour of chemicals, than psychologists know about the behaviour of people.

What should you do if you want to know how to understand people?

Study both psychology and philosophy.

Between these two disciplines, lies the answer to why people behave the way they do.

For example: One could not readily explain the twin towers terrorist without reference to religion. Religion is not psychology. It is a subset of philosophy. So, to understand the actions of millions of people, you would have to understand their religious beliefs.

On the other hand, if you wanted to understand certain behaviours such as anorexia or bulimia, then you would need to study psychology. Since these issues are less philosophical and more to do with the self-image, which is a psychological concept.

If you wanted to understand why people believe certain things, and not others, you would need to understand the epistemological methods being used by the person under study.

Epistemology is the subset of philosophy that studies "Knowledge". Epistemology tries to answer the philosophical questions such as:

  • Is certainty possible?
  • If certainty is possible, then by what means?
  • If it is not possible, then, why not?

People who lack any sense of certainty have a real hard time gaining self-confidence; their psychological state becomes a function of the epistemological methods.

People who lack any sense of self-doubt, can be seen as too egotistical and overconfident, and they can become tyrannical, (Alexander the great, Napoleon, Hitler). Their psychological state is also partly a function of their messed-up epistemology.

So, I recommend you begin a study of the two topics: Philosophy and psychology.

Two books I would recommend you read first, are:

  • For psychology read: Psycho cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.
  • For philosophy, read a short essay called: Philosophy who needs it? by Ayn Rand.

Personal Development Training Personal Development Training Course Logo

Personal Development Training

In order to improve your performance, you may need to develop your personal and professional skills: meaning: skills of communication, planning, prioritisation, motivation and personal confidence. If you want to learn more, then click here for personal development training.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in General Development

  • What Could you Learn from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?
    What Could You Learn from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle? I am guessing that you have heard the names Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. You probably know that they are the three most famous philosophers in history. But unless you have made it a special study, you may not know much about what...
    Read Article >
  • Managing your stress
    Managing your stress - Stress management In these days; many people say they feel stressed - which they consider to be a bad thing. Being stressed is not necessarily a bad thing, because stress is the trigger for adaptation, and as any good scientist knows, adaptation is good. BUT stressful circumstances...
    Read Article >
  • Make Friday Thirteenth a Great Day!
    Many people think Friday the 13th is unlucky because many people still believe in numerology.
    Read Article >
  • How to be a better team leader and manager
    How to be a better team leader and manager Everyone wants to be better. Why? Because, only if YOU are better can you achieve better results for yourself, your customers, your organisation and your family. So how can you improve your performance as a team leader and manager? Here are the...
    Read Article >
  • Soft skills training for team leaders and managers
    Soft skills training for team leaders and managers Soft skills training is a whole range of specific communication skills one must have if you wish to operate well in an organisation made up of many different personalities. Soft skills' training is contrasted to "hard skills" which are more technical in nature...
    Read Article >