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14 Examples of Shared Meaning

Shared meaning is the human ability to convey information, concepts and emotion such that individuals can essentially share their thoughts with others. The following are illustrative examples.


Language is the foundation of human thought that allows complex ideas to be communicated with sound and text.


Communication is the ability to transmit meaning from person to person. This is mostly based on language but also includes visual communication such as pictures, eye contact and body language.


Humans have the incredible ability to think beyond physical reality to form abstract concepts such as freedom, beauty or love that have no physical manifestation.

Shared Experiences

Shared meaning can emerge from the process of spending time together. For example, the process of working on hard problems together as a team that creates shared meaning such as inside jokes.


Culture is the shared meaning that emerges with the experience of groups. For example, a dance or fashion tradition.


Norms are expectations formed by a culture that represent shared rules of behavior that facilitate peaceful and productive coexistence. For example, the norm that you apologize if you bump into someone in a crowd.


Symbols are entities that have much meaning to a group. For example, a brand symbol that brings up images of cheap and unhealthy food that is nevertheless tasty and convenient.


Stories are the ability to transmit fact and fiction in an entertaining way. These are important as they allow people to communicate the products of their imagination. This tends to shape the future as people imagine how things could be and share this with groups.


The identity of groups and their members. For example, an individual who identifies with a nation, city, neighborhood, ethnic group, school, company, profession, cultures, subcultures and super cultures.


Institutions are durable elements of society that provide stability and continuation. For example, people who understand themselves to be members of a family that calls for affection, support and loyalty.


A society is the system that governs life in a place. People are often required to have some basic understanding of the society in which they live and this is enforced with hard power. For example, the requirement that you understand and follow laws and processes required by a state.


Relationships between people that are understood by both sides such as friends.


Values are interpretations of the worth and the appropriateness of things. These can be shared via culture, society and relationships. For example, a culture that values nature such that it is a shared understanding that destroying ecosystems is a negative thing.

Empathy & Sympathy

Empathy is the ability to feel the same as someone else often due to a process of shared experience or communication. Sympathy is the ability to feel bad for someone without necessarily sharing their emotions.
Overview: Shared Meaning
The human ability to convey information, concepts and emotion to others with communication and shared experience.
Related Concepts

Shared Experiences

This is the complete list of articles we have written about shared experiences.
Cultural Experience
Culture Shock
Digital Interaction
Epic Meaning
Inside Jokes
Performing Art
Personal Interaction
Positive Interactions
Profit Motive
Risk Taking
Social Character
Super Culture
Work Ethic
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The definition of society with examples.

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A list of contemporary issues.

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An overview of the importance of culture.

Importance Of Society

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An a-z list of social problems.

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An overview of social identity.

Power Imbalance

An overview of power imbalance with examples.


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A vocabulary for describing beauty.

Break A Leg

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High Context

An overview of high context communication and culture with examples.

Low Context

An overview of low context culture and communication with examples.

Low Culture

An overview of low culture with examples.
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