6 What makes us who we are?
When answering the question ‘What makes us who we are?’, psychologists – as you now know – put forward a range of explanations about why people feel, think and behave the way they do. Just when psychologists seem to understand one bit of ‘who we are’, up pops some new evidence to show a different side! It is not easy to pin down all the many influences.
Each of the previous sections of this course has focused on one approach to explaining ‘What makes us who we are?’. In this section you will have the opportunity to combine a number of different possible explanations to try and get a more complete picture of why a person thinks or acts in a certain way. You have seen, from your reading of previous sections, how people can be influenced by different aspects such as their brain and biology, thinking, relationships and social identities and how different types of psychologists (biological, cognitive, developmental and social) tend to favour certain explanations. Now it's time to put those pieces together and recognise that there are invariably multiple influences at work. This is the key lesson of this section.
This section will examine the multiple and interlinking influences at work on people's minds and behaviour coming from both inside and outside the individual.