Population psychology

Q. Examine the roles of psychology in population growth and control. 20 marks

8 thoughts on “Population psychology”

  1. High population growth and density pose serious challenges to any society in terms of increased competition for limited resources leading to increase in the number of violent conflicts and rapid exploitation of resources leading to increased pollution levels, all of which have adverse implications for psychological health of people.

    So it needs to be controlled through appropriate measures, where psychology has significant role to play in understanding the factors behind high rate of population growth, its consequences and how psychological principles can be applied in controlling it.

    # As per several research studies, high population growth rate may be attributed to following factors:

    – Value system: traditional values (patriarchy, son preference) as against modern values (women having reproductive agency)
    – Lack of knowledge regarding family planning and small family norms
    – Attitude: negative attitude towards family planning and small family norms, and even if positive attitude is developed, still it is not manifested in behaviour due to social norms.
    – Socio-religious norms against use of contraceptives, abortion, etc.
    – Personality factors : people less prone to change (low in openness dimension) are less likely to adopt family planning practices.
    – Strong need for security also motivates people in having more children for their old age security.

    # Psychological consequences of high population growth and density:

    – Prejudice and group conflicts: increased competition over limited resources -> differential prosperity -> feelings of relative deprivation -> intergroup hostile attitude -> discriminatory behaviour and violent conflicts (Sherif’s realistic conflict theory)

    – Proliferation of slums in urban areas lacking even in basic amenities -> people deprived of stimulations -> inferior cognitive development, maladaptive personality traits and high need for dependence -> delinquent behaviour resulting in high crime rate

    – Feeling of crowding acting as a stressor resulting in anxiety and aggression, and social withdrawal. Long-term experience of crowding (chronic stressor) may have serious implications for our health.

    # So after understanding the several factors underlying high population growth and its consequences, psychologists have suggested various interventions to motivate people for adopting small family norms:

    – Educating young boys and girls about safe and healthy sexual behaviour.
    – Developing modern values such as openness to change among school children.
    – Applying methods of attitude change such as persuasion to develop positive attitude towards family planning among people.
    – By applying learning principles of reward and punishment (operant conditioning).
    – Social learning: people having small family and a good quality of life may serve as role models (vicarious reinforcement) and can motivate others to follow them.
    – By changing social norms such as preference for son through effective community action.

    1. The role of psychology in population growth is well described. You have unnecessarily added the consequences of high population growth as this is not asked in the question. The use of psychology in population control should be written more specifically and completely. Overall, satisfactory performance..

  2. People living in a place is called population of that place. One measure to assess the kind of relationship between a place and the people living there is population density. High population density not only places stress on the physical resources but also on the psychological well-being of the people living in the place. So, it’s imperative to understand the psychological factors mediating the growth of population, so that we can control it effectively. Some important factors are:-

    1) Need for security: In societies, where social security is not readily available, people often have more number of kids, so that they will ‘look after them’ in old age.

    2) Patriarchal setup: In societies dominated by male members, couples often opt for larger families to ensure at least one male offspring to derive sense of security and respect from the society

    3) Religious values: Often religion(s) propagates that children are ‘gifts’ from god(s) and opting for family control norms is ‘sin’ towards them. When these values become central to the self, it disposes them to have large families

    4) Socio-cultural norms:
    (a) In some societies, marriages happen at adolescent age i.e, when people are sexually active and psychologically not mature, not equipped to express their thoughts [specially in females] effectively
    (b) In societies, where having kids is seen as ‘good’ sign of marriage and as a stabilization factor, often the more the better.
    (c) In rural and agrarian societies, need to win bread naturally shapes a person to have large number of kids

    Likewise, we can employ psychological methods to control the population. Some of them are as follows:

    1) Reasoning: Motivate young couples to have smaller families, by realizing them that girls and boys are equal. In modern and developing societies like ours, it’s irrational to hold these kind of beliefs

    2) Reinforcement: Design policies incentivizing the couples opting for smaller family norms and prescribing families who are not adhering the same. A.P. govt. initiative barring people with more than two kids from contesting councillor election is one such initiative in this direction

    4) Preference to male kids stems from deep-rooted prejudice that men are superior to women, efforts should be made to change this attitude by
    (a) employing guilt-motivation technique – spreading awareness about the problems faced by women because of these stereotypes and how having large number of kids eventually leads to malnutrition and impaired development due to lack of attention paid to them
    (b) By making them realize how having less number of kids is beneficial in long run and providing examples of persons who followed the same [social learning]
    (c) In a collective culture like ours, these initiatives must be conducted at community level to yield fruitful results, as most of us relate to our kin & kith

    5) Develop modern and open outlook among school children by educating them about safe sex habits, institution of marriage, gender equality etc.,.

  3. In india’s distant past, when the population was low,the blessing given a women was,”may you have many children”.Most of our epics and literature also stress this wish and the idea that a women should have many children hasn’t declined.
    This shows that how the behaviour of indians is derived is derived by the socio-cultural norms,with the contribution of some other psycho economical factors and psycho cognitive factors led to the high population density.For instance-
    1)psycho economic factors
    a)poverty-the low disposal income results into less recreational activity to indulge in which provides option for sexual intercourse leads to a child birth.
    b)dependence on agricultural activity-the requirement of more hands at work strengthen the thought of having more children.
    2)psycho religious factors
    a)illogical beliefs-the male child will be an instrument in achieving “MOKSHA”.
    b)a son can only perform last rituals of death of parents.
    3)psycho social factors
    a) early marriage-it leads to early birth of childs and also long period for having more number of children.
    b)social security-parents see their children as investments who will take care of them in old age.

    For changing the psyche of persons we could provide following measures-
    1)family planning measures-the birth of should be by “CHOICE” not by “CHANCE”. fot that birth control measures should be adopt like vasectomy for males, tubectomy for females, contraceptive/pills uasage and medical termination of pregnancy etc.
    2)education/awareness-education to everyone,but especially to women for empowering them so they can also participate in life impacting decisions.
    3)incentives-by reinforcing and rewarding for smaller size through tax concessions free education for single child etc.
    4)provosions of old age pensionsetc.- it helps in reducing stress at old age like who will take care of them.
    5)rise in age of marriage-as it has health related and mental related benefits and also contributes to low population density.

  4. Population growth has always been a menace in India. There are various reason for such spurt in population growth, which has roots in psychology of a Indian community as a whole.

    a. Community sanctions: Human like to live in a group, and readily follow the rules and regulation so that it feels affiliated,approved, accepted by the society. These various sanctions of the society have existed in historical times, whose affects are visible today also.
    a. Patriarchy system: Indian society has been mostly patriarchal society. The concept of “Kulva” ie big joint family has always prevailed. Women use to accept or were forced to accept to have many children to have large family. Having baby boy is must for the families even today. Couples keep on reproducing until they have a male child. even after having a male child they want another male child. Historically, male child is natural heir to his parents property and primary care taker of parents in old age.

    b. Cognition: Beliefs and knowledge are important factors that have derived our population. These beliefs and knowledge have passed onto the next generation and this is how religious idea beliefs have propagated.
    a. Religious beliefs: Religious beliefs that children are gift of god. Male child is possible way of attaining “moksha”. Barren women were considered inauspicious which led to perpetuate system of polygyny.
    b. Inadequate knowledge: lack of knowledge about contraception and sterlisation. Sex is a taboo word in Indian society, idea of using contraceptives means letting other people know about sex life. Misinformation regarding side effects of contraceptives have led to lack of usage.
    c. Attitude towards girl child: Girl child birth is unwelcomed in many parts of India today. Concept of “Praya dhan” about girls still prevails. This has led to early marriage of girls. early marriage let to spurt in population. Parents don’t want to invest in education of girls. lack of knowledge among women has led to teen pregnancy and unwanted children.

    c.Psycho Economic factor: India has been an agri society from early period of society. More family member means more earning hands. Human basic need is food, clothing, shelter. This has driven people to reproduce more.

    Ways of controlling the population are:
    a. Attitude shift towards nuclear family: Couples can be made to realise benefits of small family. How it can lead to conservation of resources, valuable family bond, is an important aspect.
    b. Awareness: awareness campaign regarding contraceptives, removing unfounded misleading beliefs about them.
    c. Women empowerment: right education, job opportunity have made women a decision maker of their own life.this will improve status of women in the society. They can be empowered to choose their life partners and right opportunity leads to delay in marriage.
    d. Working at community level: It is the community that has to change and bring the change. working with community brings best result. Family planning benefits should be made available at ground level.
    e. Reinforcement: Incentivising those who opt for better family planning programme can bring great behavioural change. Better social security reduces dependency.

    1. Good content and answer.. The answer covers almost everything that is required. You can make it better by improving subheadings. For example, cognition, awareness like general subtitles could be modified and replaced by more appropriate and specific headings like social cognition about children..

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