Since our early school years we begin to learn about math, science, grammar, history, but very vaguely (if at all), about our own behavior. We can only wonder about the complexities we have yet to uncover about ourselves.
The study of human behavior has been approached from many angles: environmental, political, neuroscience, psychology, software and design, health and wellbeing, marketing, architecture, and economics are just some examples. Human behavior knowledge has been able to provide solutions that improve team dynamics, create convenient spaces and intuitive platforms, help make smart investments, promote better use of resources and drive people’s attention.
The HSI model presents human behavior as communication processes that flow through seven layers that make up a human system, or person. Based on how information is processed, the layers can be classified into three categories: Media Layers, Mini-Module Layers, and Host Layers. Let us break those down and explain:
– The Media layers include our environment, our five senses, and our nervous system. In other words, everything that surrounds us as well as our biological processes.
– The Mini-Modules make up the subconscious mind (processing and communications that happen without our conscious awareness).
– The Host Layers are the conscious mind (information and thoughts we are aware of).
Information travels through the layers in the form of five energy processes: physical (forces and vibrations), electromagnetic, electrical, biochemical and thermal. Because of this, we can follow the movement and transformation of energy through the layers.
Yes, this can all be complex at first. For that reason, this post aims to use the HSI Model to present human behavior insights as information we can immediately use to help us be the person we want to be.
We have two parts of our minds, Conscious and Subconscious. Information from our environment travels in the form of energetic processes, first into our bodies and then, into our minds. Our minds and bodies speak different languages, so they all engage in different types of processing.
Everything that reaches our Conscious mind (our awareness) must have been initially processed by our Subconscious mind. Conscious thoughts are first Subconscious thoughts.
Our minds have a system to ensure our survival while we engage in other unrelated activities. This means we can move and breathe, at the same time we are having a conversation with someone.
Our conscious mind can evaluate, observe and reach conclusions on a deeper, much slower, smaller scale than our subconsciousness. This way, our subconscious takes care of our bodies and cognition, so that our consciousness is able to think about how we feel.
Sometimes our two minds can have conflicting goals and we do not know it, so an introspection process is needed to lead us to realize when our minds are working against or in favor of each other.
For example, when we learn a new skill or when we concentrate on a task.
This means that more time will allow more thoughts to reach our consciousness, which will probably lead to better decision-making and understanding of situations.
If we want to start a new habit or routine, we must accept and work around the fact that our subconscious mind will want to be fast and energy saving. Conscious thinking and strategizing will be required to influence our subconscious processing.
Unfamiliarity will usually make us feel uncomfortable, but don’t worry, through repetition our subconscious develops faster, effortless ways to respond. Practice, time, and exposure allow us to respond with more ease and confidence to specific situations. Just like when we practice pitching an idea!
Since our subconscious mind relies on progressive automatization to get everything done, this may cause us to be sloppy in our interpretation and response of situations and surroundings without us even noticing.
Feedback is necessary for our minds to realize we should modify a response. If we do not ask someone how they feel, we might make an incorrect assumption and cause them to feel uncomfortable in certain situations.
Feedback can be conscious or unconscious. We can ask for feedback about a specific response, but it might also be provided without us recognizing it as feedback. If someone is feeling uncomfortable around us and they tell us, it might be easier for our subconscious to interpret it as a threat, rather than valuable feedback.
Will-power is usually not effective because it requires going against the way your mind’s work. Since our biological processing and cognition are subsconscious (automatic and outside our awareness), we cannot control ourselves, we can only influence our thoughts and behaviors. When we find ourselves avoiding a task, we might use willpower to push through and complete it, but this will deplete our energy and affect our performance.
Unfortunately, there is no instruction manual on how to be a happy, satisfied human being. Considering all we have left to decipher and its importance, it seems ironic that the idea of learning about human behavior is not common, nevertheless we can use these insights to improve our everyday experience.