What Tomassello Wrote About Humans

There can be little question that characteristics of our brains differentiate humans from other creatures. Increasingly, cognitive scientists recognize our brains are designed for the social interactions that have allowed humans to cooperate, and this cooperation has enabled our species to avoid extinction. Cognitive and developmental psychologist Michael Tomassello (2014) described the importance of social interaction for human nature when he observed, “Humans biologically inherit their basic capacities for constructing uniquely human cognitive representations, forms of inference, and self-monitoring, out of their collaborative and communicative interactions with other social beings. Absent a social environment, these capacities would wither away from disuse….” (p. 147). As much as we are a social species, humans are a technology-using species. It is through technology that humans have extended their capacity to manipulate and control the environment.


Tomasello, M. (2014). A natural history of human thinking. Harvard University Press.