In terms of differing psychological views, what does it mean to be human?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The most obvious differences between humans and animals would obvioulsy be intelligence, language, emotions including a conscience and so on. 

The study of psychology allows us to understand human similarities and differences, personality traits, non- physical disease and potential treatment thereof and obtain a scientific understanding of the processes concerning development. It is a broad field of study and prevention and management of neurological diseases is key to this field. One of the key

effort(s) of the behavioral sciences is to understand, predict, and influence behavior.

Humans form groups, much like any other animal but attitudes, opinions, and behaviors, together with culture and environment affect the way groups and individuals interact. Stability and routine are major factors and  

 broad concepts such as stress, social cohesion, peer influence, civic trust, and others derive strong theoretical and research support.

All these concepts and considerations make us human. Child development is obviously instrumental in the making of a person.

Various philosophers and psychologists developed various views about the development of the human psyche. John Locke (1632- 1704) believed that a baby was born without any preconceived ideas - a 'blank slate'. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778)believed we are all born good but are affected by external factors that often 'warp' our personalities. He believed in the

 relative superiority of primitive man to civilized man.

Civilized man creates his own inequalities and restrictions through artificial means.

Obviously Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) had a major influence not only on human development and the concept of 'survival of the fittest.' He believed that, setting humans apart from animals ensured that

 human morality was the product of social and cultural evolution and that 

adaptation to the environment was a universal trend.

John B Watson (1878- 1958) saw no end to the training capacity of human beings.

All views do point to the same conclusion which is that humanity is  indeed a compex model to understand and interpret but its superiority and domination over all other species cannot be disputed.



Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial