Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 478-479  

Human Behavior

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication29-Oct-2015

Correspondence Address:
Sundar Gnanavel
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Gnanavel S. Human Behavior. Indian J Psychol Med 2015;37:478-9

How to cite this URL:
Gnanavel S. Human Behavior. Indian J Psychol Med [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Jan 18];37:478-9. Available from:

The title "Human Behavior" is written by Dr. Sunil Pandya, a leading neurosurgeon and a renowned writer from Mumbai, India. This volume aims to focus on the roots of human behavior and attempts to explain normal and abnormal human behavior on the basis of genetic and environmental factors.

The initial and most voluminous chapter is dedicated to human brain acting as the substrate of human behavior (not surprising, considering it is written by a neurosurgeon!). The chapter deals with plasticity of human brain, the role of reticular formation in consciousness, gestalt theory of perception, circadian rhythm, social learning theories (of Pavlov and Skinner), memory, role of limbic system in emotions, concept of placebo, role of frontal lobe in behavior, brief notes on Freud, Jung and Adler, sleep architecture, role of dreams as well as creativity and intelligence. This chapter provides a broad overview of brain's functions in shaping human behavior.

The second chapter deals with "the milieu exterior" which deals with the environmental factors shaping human behavior. However, this chapter appears to be grossly inadequate with the focus being just on how war atrocities may shape human behavior with no mention of any of the other common environmental factors that shape human behavior.

The third chapter deals with abnormal patterns of human behavior highlighting aggression, brainwashing, mass hysteria and an undue emphasis on multiple personality disorder. This chapter is replete with real life examples of abnormal patterns of behavior and makes for an interesting read.

The fourth chapter deals in brief about drug dependence and addiction while the fifth chapter deals with child psychology. The role of family, social relationships in shaping child behavior is described along with an account of common childhood psychiatric disorders including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and specific learning disorders. Child abuse is discussed as a common and potential factor influencing child behavior.

The sixth chapter deals with role of psychometric tests, personality profiling and various behavioral modification techniques including aversion therapy and systematic desensitization.

The seventh chapter deals with psychiatric illnesses including mood disorders, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders along with a special mention on organic mental disorders behavior (again not surprising, considering it is written by a neurosurgeon!). The eighth chapter lists out various modalities of therapy in psychiatry including pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, meditation, yoga, bio-feedback and psychosurgery.

The ninth and final chapter deals with the virtues of helpfulness, setting goals for self, coping skills, role of religion and spirituality with the author's philosophical take on the same.

text is replete with quotes from authors such as William Shakespeare and William James exploring human behavior. The text makes for an overall interesting read in spite of an apparent superficial take on certain aspects like mental illnesses and environmental factors shaping human behavior. Though the target audience has not been mentioned, it can be safely assumed to be lay people with some interest in psychology or human behavior considering the fact that it is published by the National Book Trust. Certain chapters like the initial chapter on human brain mediating human behavior could have been further simplified considering the target audience. Notwithstanding the shortcomings, this text makes for an interesting attempt in trying to explain human behavior in simple language for those with some interest in the topic.


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