Characteristics of Humans

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The list below is a dynamically growing (and/or changing) list of characteristics of humans. It is used in a systemic analysis using Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) to identify those characteristics that are considered as the most essential descriptors of what is human.

The project aims to use the results in order to propose research and policies that aim to safeguard the basic human characteristics.

Project Leader: Yiannis Laouris

  1. Humans have a highly developed and sizable long-term memory
  2. Humans have the ability to shift their attention consciously
  3. Humans have intuition
  4. Humans are capable of abstract reasoning
  5. Humans are capable of language
  6. Humans are capable of introspection
  7. Humans are capable of problem solving
  8. Humans are concerned with the meaning of life
  9. Humans search for gratification
  10. Humans have a sense of curiosity
  11. Humans record their history
  12. Humans inherit their genetic code to their children
  13. Humans are concerned with the inevitability of isolation
  14. Humans are concerned with Thanatophobia (the fear of death)
  15. Humans eventually die (restricted life span)
  16. Humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression the exchange of ideas, and organization
  17. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families and kinship networks, to nations
  18. Humans are capable of social interactions
  19. Humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society
  20. Humans are a cosmopolitan species (with individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica)
  21. Humans have certain qualities that define them as being humane; kindness
  22. Humans are able to express compassion and empathy
  23. Humans have the ability to create conditions in order to develop “rights”
  24. Humans develop collectively codes of ethics
  25. Humans are able to negotiate collectively and reach consensus
  26. Humans’ actions are characterized by intention
  27. Humans have extremities that allow them to interact and manipulate the world around them
  28. Humans experience dreams while they sleep
  29. Humans have a theory of mind
  30. Humans express and understand humor
  31. Humans tend to strive for long-term relations
  32. Humans tend to live in pairs for very long times and create families