Human Communication and Cognitive Functions

761 Words3 Pages
One of the unique things that distinguish human beings from other animals is the manner in which we communicate in a very complex manner. We share concepts, we record ideas for future use and learning, we have memories, we create stories out of fiction for pleasure, and we learn through a highly complex set of cognitive functions through language. Somehow, in our evolutionary past, our ancestors took information from the environment (smell, touch, sound, etc.) and converted it into information that could be shared. Some of that information became memories, some of it became tradition, and it all became part of the development of culture (Ormrod). There are many approaches to how humans learn and communicate. One, from psychologist B.F. Skinner, was extremely influential in the American system of education. His basic idea was that positive reinforcement changes behavior, and is more effective than punishment. When a person is punished, the main thing they learn is not how to avoid the behavior that caused the punishment, but to avoid the punishment. Along with this idea, Skinner believed that the consequences of individual actions actual modify the behaviors. This he called Operant Conditioning, and provided a way to improve behaviors by reinforcing in a positive way each time that behavior took place. Along with this, Skinner believed that it was necessary to continually reinforce those kinds of behaviors and that there should be a measurable rate on the severity of the
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