Human Psychological Characteristics versus Animal Characteristics


The role of biology in psychology changes from animals to humans. Biology determines animal behaviour in natural environments. For humans the biological forces changes to an energizing function. They recede in the background and the higher psychological functions govern consciousness and behavior. Humans do not have to obey the instincts or reflexes, but have the option to do what they decide to do after reflecting on the alternatives. No other species have this ability to the same degree. The difference between Homo sapiens and other species in this regard is not only a distinction in degree it is a distinction in principle. To understand development of language in its relation to thought, consciousness and volatile behavior is essential.

Share and Cite:

Kolstad, A. (2013). Human Psychological Characteristics versus Animal Characteristics. Psychology, 4, 488-493. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.45069.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Cole, M. (2002). Culture and development. In H. Keller, Y. H. Poortinga, & A. Scholmerich (Eds.), Between culture and biology. Perspectives on ontogenetic development (pp. 303-319). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[2] deLima, S. G. (1997). Will adding halves make a whole? Comments on Ratners “Activity as a key concept for cultural psychology”. Culture and Psychology, 3, 195-210. doi:10.1177/1354067X9700300206
[3] Doidge, N. (2007). The brain that changes itself. New York: Viking Penguin.
[4] Drummond, H. (1894). The ascent of man. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
[5] Durkheim, E., & Mauss, M. (1963). Primitive classification. London: Cohen and West.
[6] Fiske, A. P., Kitayama, S., Markus, H. R., & Nisbett, R. E. (1998). The cultural matrix of social psychology. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (pp. 915-981). New York: McGraw-Hill.
[7] Geertz, C. (1966). Religion as a cultural system. In M. Banton (Ed.), Anthropological approaches to the study of religion (pp. 1-46). London: Tavistock.
[8] Johanson, D. (2001).
[9] Kolstad, A. (2010). Time for paradigmatic substitution in psychology. What are the alternatives? Integrative psychological behavioral science, 44, 58-64. doi:10.1007/s12124-010-9114-y
[10] Kolstad, A. (2012). Inter-functionality between mind, biology and culture: Some epistemological issues concerning human psychological development. In M. L. Seidl-de-Moura (Ed.), Human Development—Different perspectives (pp. 19-41). InTech. doi:10.5772/37595
[11] Kolstad, A. (2013). Epistemology of psychology—A new paradigm: The dialectics of culture and biology. Hauppauge New York: Nova Science Publishers.
[12] Kono, T. (2010). The “extended mind” approach for a new paradigm of psychology. Integrated Psychological Behavior, 44, 329-339. doi:10.1007/s12124-010-9128-5
[13] Lieberman, P. (2006). The evolution of human speech. Its anatomical and neural bases. Current Anthropology, 48, 39-66. doi:10.1086/509092
[14] Luria, A. R. (1976). Cognitive development its cultural and social foundations. Cambridge, Massachusetts & London: Harvard University Press.
[15] Myers, D., Abell, J., Kolstad, A., & Sani, F. (2010). Social psychology. New York: McGraw Hill.
[16] Pick, H. L., & Gippenreiter, J. B. (1994). Encyclopedia of human intelligence. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International.
[17] Pinker, S. (2002). The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: Viking; London: Penguin.
[18] Quartz, S. R., & Sejnowski, T. J. (2002). The neural basis of cognitive development: About how we become who we are. New York: Harper-Collins.
[19] Ratner, C. (1991). Vygotsky’s sociohistorical psychology and its contemporary applications. New York: Plenum Press.
[20] Ratner, C. (2011). Macro-cultural psychology. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Oxford handbook of culture and psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[21] Shipman, P. (2003). We are all Africans. American Scientist, 91, 496-499.
[22] Vygotsky, L. S., & Luria, A. (1930/1993). Studies on the history of behavior. Ape, primitive, and child. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[23] Vygotsky, L. S. (1931/1997). The history of the development of higher mental functions. In R. W. Rieber (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky (pp. 1-252). New York: Plenum Press.
[24] Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
[25] Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). Collected works. New York: Plenum Press.
[26] Vygotsky, L. S. (1989). Thought and Language. Cambridge: Massachusetts: MIT Press.
[27] Vygotsky, L. S. (1994). The socialist alteration of man. In R. Van der Veer, & J. Valsiner (Eds.), The Vygotsky readet (pp. 175-184). Oxford: Blackwell.
[28] Wertsch, J. V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[29] Yaroshevsky, M. (1989). Lev Vygotsky. Moscow: Progress Publisher.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.