Typical reptilian behaviours
|Category of reptilian response||Context|
|Territoriality||These types of behaviour make sense in an evolutionary context. Animals that have larger territories are more likely to find food and mates. Some pupils will treat your classroom as their territory.|
|Dominance||If an animal dominates others within its territory then they are more likely to have opportunities to mate. It makes biological sense for pupils to assert control over others.|
|Vengeance||In the ongoing struggle for dominance it could make biological sense for others to see that you are not to be trifled with.|
|Fight or Flight||A typical response to threat. The fight may be physical, verbal or a struggle for control. The flight can be actual or a withdrawal from an activity or situation.|
|Anxiety/fear||These feelings are associated with the physiological response mediated by stress hormones. They can be uncomfortable to experience and impair the ability to learn.|
|Anger||Can be seen both as a way to display to warn others of our emotional state and a preparation for violence or flight.|
|Aggression||Viewed in the context of evolution aggression could be seen as a reasonable and logical response to threat.|
|Fast, spontaneous||Escalation of behaviours can be very rapid – this is logical if your brain ‘feels’ you are in imminent danger.|
|Don’t care||The limbic system is supressed by activity in the reptilian complex. Our emotional response is impaired.|
|Fail to see big picture||Suppression of the neocortex makes it less likely that a pupil recognises how their choices are impacting on them.|
|Illogical||As above – people can speak and act in ways that can seem to be disadvantageous and make little apparent sense.|
Challenging Behaviour: Strategies for Helping Young People
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