Idiosyncrasy is a feature that exists in a person and is typical to that person. A unique behavior that exists in a person is called an idiosyncrasy, it is an odd habit. The term idiosyncrasy is more often than not used in depicting a peculiar or eccentric behavior of a person. Eccentricity is similar to quirk. The origin of the word idiosyncrasy is rooted in the Greek language. In the Greek language, the word meant a peculiar habit or a certain temperament of the human being. In Greek, the literal meaning of the word is particular mingling. From the point of view of linguistics, the word can be applied to symbols. Idiosyncratic symbols could mean different thing for each person. For example, a book might mean something that could be read but for someone else it could be something to write on. Different images have different meaning for different people; this is what idiosyncratic symbols are, a symbol which has the capability of having different images for different people.
Idiosyncrasy has different meanings in medical sciences. In the context of a disease, idiosyncrasy is the way the idea of disease was conceived by the physicians in the 19th century. During this period, every disease that a person got was considered unique to him or her; hence disease was regarded as idiosyncratic because it was considered unique to everyone. This idea started to change in the 1870s; the researchers discovered something called the scientific medicine, a predecessor to the evidence-based medicine that is practiced today. In pharmacology, idiosyncrasy a different meaning. Some medicines have an adverse effect on the body of the individual; this effect is not anticipated by the doctors. In the field of pharmacology, this unexpected result that occurs is referred to as the idiosyncrasy. This is the adverse reaction that a drug or medicine has on the body of the individual.
Idiosyncrasy has a different meaning in psychiatry and psychology. In the field of psychiatry, the term means a specific mental condition that is attached to a particular patient. Suppose a person has some mental condition, it will be considered idiosyncratic as the mental condition is particular to them. In the field of behaviorism and psychoanalysis, idiosyncrasy is the way by which an individual reacts to a particular situation. The situation could be experienced by a lot of people but each individual will have a different reaction to the situation. The way a person perceives a situation and the way they interpret it will differ from person to person, this is known as an idiosyncratic behavior. A space like the workplace might be perceived differently by all the workers at the same organization. The reactions that every worker has to the workplace are kwon as idiosyncratic reaction.
In economics, idiosyncrasy has a different meaning. In the portfolio theory, risk of price varies due to the exclusive conditions of a definite security as opposed to the complete market, are called ‘idiosyncratic risks’. This kind of specific risk is also referred to as unsystematic, can be cancelled out of portfolio through expansion. According to the principles of macro-economics, in a financial setting, prevaricating idiosyncratic risk can be self-defeating as it leads to complex systematic risks, since it takes on more leverage.
As mentioned earlier, idiosyncrasy in everyday use is referred to as the unusual behavior that any individual has. A person might constantly twirl his or her hair and this might be unique to his/her nature and the others might find it different. Idiosyncrasy is therefore a distinctive tendency that might seem unusual to the people around. These behaviors might not always fit with the common norm or behavior that is generally prevalent in society. These behaviors might be quirky and could be so insignificant that others might not notice it but it could be unique for the person who is doing it.
Habits are different from quirks or idiosyncratic behavior. Habits are routine behavior that is exhibited by a person. These behaviors have become regularized and they are usually very hard to change. Habits might be unique to a person’s character but it might be a common occurrence in the community that they belong to. Compared to this, quirks or idiosyncratic behavior are peculiar to an individual. These behaviors usually seem odd to the people who are not aware who the person is. Sometime these behaviors might become habitual because the person have been doing it for the longest time but these are behaviors are shared by the members of the community and are not common to any member hence these are quirky behavior or idiosyncratic behavior. In literature, idiosyncrasies are very useful, while developing a character; these make the characters unique from one another. Idiosyncrasies are important as these differentiate one character from another. One character might bite his lips every time they hear someone say a lie, while another character might snap his finger every time something interesting happens in front of them. These are important because, these traits make them unique and differentiate them from the other. In literature this is needed because while reading a book or novel, it is always not possible to remember the name of every character but their quirks remain etched in the mind of the readers because they are unique and that is what makes them who they are.
This essay concludes that idiosyncrasies are certain behaviors which are particular to every individual. These are certain unique qualities that are only present in one individual and the others might find it different as all of the members of the community might not understand what that behavior is and might find it unique because that behavior is not shared by the members of the community. Idiosyncrasies are different in fields like pharmacology, disease, psychiatry and economics. Although the meaning of idiosyncrasy remains the same that is peculiar behavior but according to various fields the context changes. Idiosyncrasy means that quirk in the behavior of the person that is unique to him/her and no other member of the society shares it.
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