ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Instincts in Humans Affect our Social Development

Updated on December 19, 2017
Cal-gal profile image

Meredith has a keen interest in the human mind and enjoys following developments in the field of psychology, anthropology, sociology.

Grasping Baby's First natural instinct
Grasping Baby's First natural instinct | Source

Understanding Human Instincts

It's easy to see examples of instincts in animals such as birds. They instinctively know to fly south for the winter and how to construct a nest without being shown. These are instincts which are hardwired into their DNA.

We are aware of some instincts in humans such as the ability to grasp. As any parent of a newborn will tell you, it is one of the reflexes which is first noticed. Similar to other mammals, the majority of our skills are learned from our parents and society, let's look at these.

You may believe that the decisions you make are based on logic and reason. Would it surprise you to know that most of the time your life and the choices you make are driven by your instincts?

Instinct is a natural impulse that does not depend on our will, reason or feelings. It is more a biological function or an inbuilt intelligence that throughout the development of the human race was there to guarantee our survival.

Our responses happen fast, we act before we realize what we're doing and this is why it is difficult to isolate them. Those instincts have already decided our behavior before our reasoning mind has had a chance to weigh up the pros and cons of a given situation.

By looking at our instincts and understanding how they work, it can help in understanding how they can interfere in relationships, both personally and professionally.

The 3 Types of Human Instincts

There are three types of instincts needed in our lives:

Self-Preservation Instinct: This important instinct is related to the conservation of our life. It is closely related to our physical survival and is ever alert to anything that may constitute a threat or aggression to our life. This instinct can be seen in the following areas of our lives.

  • Health
  • Safety
  • Work
  • Rest
  • Comfort

Social Instinct: This is the instinct that pushes you to integrate into society: This can lead a person to worry about their role in a relationship and in interactions between members of a group of friends or even among colleagues within a work environment. This instinct wants to be socially recognized and is commonly associated with a sense of:

  • Belonging
  • Group
  • Common interests

One to One / Sexual Instinct: The third instinct is responsible for close relationships. Such things as the quality of the relationship, and level of intimacy. This is the instinct that makes us want to be desired. It can be seen in the following areas.

  • Effective bonding
  • Attraction
  • Harmony
  • Power

Balancing your Instincts

One of the greatest challenges of self-development is balancing the three instincts.

Ideally, we would have the instincts balanced and harmonized in a way where we could activate and enjoy the benefits of every instinct when necessary and at the correct moment. Without making yourself aware of how your instincts work, this rarely happens. Our own personality, life history, traumatic events all can distort these instincts and they become unbalanced causing stress in our lives. In these stressful situations, and in their aftermath, the following generally occurs.

  • dominant
  • rejected
  • normal

The dominant or exaggerated instinct is one we live by as though it were the most important thing in our life. This is because in this area of life we miss something that has not been sufficiently filled in childhood, and thus, this instinct becomes dominant in the attempt to compensate with an excess of what was lacking during our younger years.

One of the three instincts can become rejected. In other words, we don't know how to deal with an area so we block it out, and avoid it or even grow to hate it. This can be the result of a traumatic childhood experience or a strongly negative experience that left the feeling of not knowing how to deal with a certain type of situation. The result is avoidance and sometimes, hatred.

The other instinct can be called normal because it is in an intermediate position, closer to normality. This instinct appears when it is necessary.

Even if we train our rejected instinct to develop, the dominant instinct will continue to express itself effortlessly, as a natural, innate tendency.

Can you determine your 3 types of instinct?

See results

Identifying the Dominant, Rejected and Normal Instincts

To identify your dominant instinct think about your life as a whole, and answer the following questions:

  • Where do I channel most of my energy?
  • What has been most important in my life?
  • What can I do better?

In what area are you skilled, where this talent comes easily and naturally?

Now make a connection between your answers and the three types of instincts. What is the conclusion you have reached about your dominant instinct?

Our rejected instinct is easier to identify because when we think about it we usually feel a type of repulsion towards it.

It pays us to take the time and pinpoint the areas greatly affected by our instincts because they are the mechanisms that unconsciously drive our actions. Becoming aware of our instincts helps us understand affinities and differences and overcome possible disagreements in relationships and can also help in the development of the rejected instinct, bringing a balance to relationships.

Our challenge is to balance the use of our three instincts, to use according to our needs and in the correct moments.

When you've identified your dominant and rejected instincts, you can begin down the road of self-improvement. Begin suppressing your dominant and raising your rejected instinct. By consciously making positive changes towards keeping all three equal, both you and your relationships with others will be greatly improved.

© 2017 Meredith Davies


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)