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PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age

This page was last modified on January 18, 2023

The Human Person from the Perspective
of Psychology & the Social Sciences

The Connected Baby (2011) • YouTube • 3'56"
[The Connected Baby DVD]          Graphic: I, Ecosystem cover of SN           [high school dating networks]     
Primary Human Language Families

  • How are you connected now?
  • How have you been connected in the past?
  • What do you expect will be your connections in the future?

Human Persons
The fundamental way that I approach the notion of humanity posits that human persons are born into, develop, and live within a complex cosmos or world. This world comes before human beings are born (we are “thrown into” the world.)  This cosmos consists of multiple, permeable, and interacting domains, ecologies, or environments which can be termed material, biological, social, cultural, storied, and transcendent. There is a parallel between these domains and human functioning. Hence, human persons can be characterized as material beings, bio-psychological organisms, social actors, symbol-using agents, story-making authors, and witnesses to the transcendent. These realities converge such that human persons ordinarily experience themselves as conscious or self-reflective-centers of consciousness.

  • The world and human beings as active and interactive
  • Embeddedness within dynamic ecological systems (ecology is more than just the biological, it refers to the entire environment around someone)
    • Change, movement, unstable
  • The biological for humans is really biopsychological, that is, as living organisms we cope with the world around us by using all of the psychological abilities that we were born with and develop across our lives. Thinking is, at root, the sum of all the activities we undertake to survive and thrive.
  • The notion of the "individual" as divorced from or somehow independent of the world's ecologies is a Western myth that increasingly we know is false.
Dynamic Self

Characteristics of the Human Person related to Major Subfields of Psychology

Biopsychological Bio- and Neuropsychology
Sensory & perceptual psychology
Developmental psychology
Social Actor*
Social psychology
Life-span psychology
Personality psychology
Symbol-using Agent*
Cognitive psychology
Cultural & cross-cultural psychology
Psychology of Language
Psychology of Linguistics
Story-making Author*
Personality psychology
Narrative psychology
Cultural & cross-cultural psychology
Witness to the Transcendent
Psychology of Art, Creativity, & Aesthetics
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Positive psychology
Self-reflective Center of Consciousness
Personality psychology
Cognitive psychology
Bio- and Neuropsychology
Phenomenological psychology
Positive psychology

* These three characteristics (social actor, symbol-using agent, and story-making author) reflect the overall personality and developemental theory of Dan P. McAdams and summarized in his 2015 book, The Art and Science of Personality Development (New York: Guilford Press).


This page was first posted on 1/23/14