Human beings are not simple to understand. Even if they were, most of us now live in a complex world that has allowed us to become detached from the natural patterns and drivers that have shaped humans and human consciousness over millennia of evolution. To try and understand how and why people behave the way they do in modern society requires us not just to understand the human side of the equation, but also to understand a great deal about the social context in which this behaviour occurs. The purpose of this paper is to set out a number of different perspectives that can be used to understand and interpret behaviour. It sets these
out within a framework that demonstrates how each approach can contribute something valuable towards developing a broad view of behaviour. Within this paper the term ‘behaviour’
is used to refer simply to ‘what people do’ in the broadest terms.
WARNING! The intention behind this paper is to act as a simple introduction to a range of theories that come from very distinct academic backgrounds, and to present them in a way that encourage policies to be developed that take them all into account. As a consequence, some of the more nuanced aspects of the theories are inevitably simplified. Therefore the reader is strongly encouraged to read the additional recommended literature to get a fuller understanding of each perspective.