Malcolm Gladwell Essay

1361 Words Apr 9th, 2013 6 Pages
Interaction Between Personality and Environment
A theory that an individual’s behavior is most likely based on factors such as personal convictions, personality, or inherited genes is a common belief in nowadays’ society. This theory seems like reasonable and logical because it is quite natural that a person’s behavior follows his or her characters. Malcolm Gladwell, however, in his essay, “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime,” examines those factors affecting peoples’ behaviors and comes up with his own theory. Gladwell believes that the environmental conditions have the most significant influence on how one behaves. Throughout his essay, he presents a few different studies to help persuade
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In contrast, even though one was once intended to commit a crime, if one is at the place where is comfortable and tidy, one cannot commit a violent act easily and actually begins to think again about breaking a law. This theory flows into Gladwell’s argument about the Tipping Points that forces people toward violence. Gladwell believes that the little things around people can act as catalysts and significantly change the outcomes of certain situations. As Gladwell notes, “The Power of Context is an environmental argument. It says that behavior is a function of social context” (Gladwell 159). There has been a similar argument about influence of surroundings in earlier days, but it shows little difference from the claim of Gladwell. Early environmentalism emphasizes the importance of fundamental social factors; crime is the result of social injustice, structural economic inequities, racism, and decades of social neglect (Gladwell 159). However, according to the Power of Context, Tipping Point – the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to an irreversible development – may be as simple and trivial. People do not have to solve the big problems or undertake some heroic steps to decrease a crime rate. All they need to do is scrubbing off graffiti and arresting fare-beaters.
An individual’s personality or character also plays an important role in decision-making. Although environmental conditions
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