May 8, 2013

Essay on Past Experiences


Past experiences play a vital role in shaping the personality and hence the present of a person. Psychologists also believe that the impact of past experiences even if it occurred in childhood has its long term influences that are felt by individuals and that shapes up their personality and more or less their lives. Through the insight gained through the practice of psychology it has been noticed that there are some fears of childhood that the adults are unable to get rid of after all these years because their inferiority complex of personality has not been dealt with, this makes them vulnerable to them and creates an inner conflict that the individual needs help with. Thus it can be said that the past in fact helps us in moving forward in our present lives as the new things we learn help us make better decisions.
Individual’s past and constant moving experiences govern their choices about the future. The emotional experiences like moods, happiness and other personal experiences like delight and hurt, fondness and abhorrence, trust and fear all shape the way we direct our present and how we will direct our future. The fact that our most trivial decision of choosing an ice-cream flavor to one of the most important decisions of choosing a career or a mate are all based on our past experiences. This is because for us the guarantee of future and present happiness depends on our past experiences of deriving happiness from similar situations. The initial rough calculation by people about their future decision can therefore be said to be purely self-gratifying: people like to do things in the future from what they have derived pleasure in the past, and keep away from or fear further incidents they have disliked or which have caused them distress.
The Constructivist theorists also believe that learning depends on past experiences as we as individuals can relate to our past experiences while learning and basing our ideas on it. It is also said that one can never truly learn without experiencing that is why science also derives its conclusions from the past studies and arguments are based on these studies. A  research work by scientists George Dragoi and Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, proved that the past experiences influences our present.
"These findings explain at the neuronal circuit level the phenomenon through which prior knowledge influences our decisions when we encounter a new situation," Dragoi said. "This explains in part why different individuals form different representations and respond differently when faced with the same situation."( Dragoi and Tonegawa, 2010)
These past experiences become our instincts on which our actions are base. For instance if a child burns his fingers from a blazing fire he will learn to avoid it in the future and hence he learns its harmful effect. Therefore theorists believe that we shape our present through our experiences. They believe that learning is not an absolutely isolated process rather one learns through establishing meaning in prevailing circumstances and using that knowledge to plot a course for the present. It is believed that learning is closely related with the social life of an individual as well as his or her environment. In other words, environment plays an important role in the process of learning and it helps in shaping an individual’s identity. Albert Bandura in his psychological social learning theory presented the idea that we learn from the example of others as well as from direct experience with rewards and punishments. He emphasizes that live Models from the environment influence the pro-social, helpful behavior.
Hence it can be said that past does influence the present decisions as it predetermines the expected result of an action and help us navigate through our lives keeping the outcomes of the experiences in mind.






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