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50 Examples of Human Nature

 , September 16, 2020 updated on May 04, 2023
Human nature are the common dispositions, characteristics and capabilities of people. These are foundations of human thought and behavior. The following are illustrative examples.

Need

Humans are born with emotional and physical needs that must regularly be satisfied to avoid pain and decline. For example, the need to eat or to be safe.

Instinct

Humans have instincts and are able to override these with higher level thought processes. For example, a person may feel a strong urge to flee from danger but may override this to face the danger where it makes sense.

Self

Humans have a sense of self such that they defend what they view as their self interests and have a sense of self-esteem and self-importance.

Relatedness

A desire to be connected and to interact with other people.

Motivation

Humans have desires known as motivation that are amazingly diverse as compared to animal instincts such as the drive to find food.

Emotion

Emotions are mental states that color all thought for a period of time.

Empathy & Sympathy

Empathy is the ability to share emotions and sympathy is the ability to recognize emotions and react appropriately.

Imagination

The ability to think in ways that differ from concrete reality.

Creativity

The ability to produce things from the imagination such as designs or new concepts.

Art

The unconstrained pursuit of expression.

Aesthetics

The ability to feel that elements of the world are beautiful or otherwise appealing.

Play

Play is the drive to find joy and fun in the world.

Competition

Humans appear to be competitive and may seek to create competition with sports, games, challenges and similar pursuits.

Social Comparison

People commonly compare themselves to other people.

Social Status

The desire for respect and recognition from others.

Growth

The drive to grow, explore and improve.

Productivity

The drive to create and produce.

Rational Thought

The ability to consider evidence in a systematic way to form opinions.

Discipline

Discipline is the ability to transcend motivation to do what is required in a situation. For example, the discipline to wake early in the morning to train when your motivation is telling you to sleep late.

Introspection

Introspection is the ability to examine your own character, thinking, emotions and behavior to self-improve.

Memory

An ability to remember information for a lifetime. Human memories are often fuzzy and surrounded in emotion such as nostalgia.

Intuition

Intuition are opinions and feelings that are formulated with processes that are unknown to your conscious mind. Plato and Socrates viewed this in mystical terms as a connection to an eternal force. Modern theories view intuition as unconscious knowledge and unconscious cognition although this isn't well understood.

Knowledge

The ability to try to understand things and to share this information.

Language

Humans think and communicate with language.

Communication

People try to communicate with each other.

Concepts

Humans can think in ways that differ from concrete reality. In fact, all languages have a large number of concepts that have no direct physical equivalent.

Technology

A knack for making useful tools.

Society, Culture & Tradition

Humans demonstrate complex social behavior with an ability to develop shared systems, rules, celebrations and meaning.

Experiments

People are curious and try things to discover new knowledge. This can be seen in babies who commonly perform experiments to investigate cause and effect such as intentionally knocking something over.

Risk Taking

The ability to act in an environment of uncertainty and risk to pursue opportunity.

Failure

Human beings aren't infallible such that they often fail, make mistakes and misjudge things.

Strengths

Humans are highly capable and well adapted to life on Planet Earth. For example, humans have a large number of social capabilities such that they can cooperate in large groups in a highly organized way.

Resilience

Humans can learn from failures, stresses and risk taking to become stronger.

Weakness

Humans often lack capabilities that would be advantageous to their life. These can be physical or cognitive. For example, individuals commonly have character weaknesses. Each individual has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.

Tactics

The ability to identify actions that may achieve a short term advantage.

Strategy

An ability to think out a series of actions that will achieve a goal in the long term. Humans have significant capacity for strategic thinking.

Control

People commonly seek to control their environment. They may also seek to exert control or influence over each other.

Freedom

People seek freedom from control. They demonstrate reactance, meaning they may strongly react to attempts to take freedoms away.

Diplomacy

The ability for groups such as nations to use communication and understanding to resolve differences.

Politics

Politics is the process of making decisions as a group through communication. Often involves intense power struggles that may nonetheless remain somewhat civil. Politics tends to emerge in any group that cooperates.

Civility

Civility is the ability to organize into societies, communities and cultures and to conform to a shared set of rules in order to live in peace.

Conflict

A tendency for civility and diplomacy to breakdown resulting in conflict between individuals and groups.

Fear

A dread of failure, uncertainty and risk. A type of instinct or motivation.

Angst

Angst is the fear that your life will be meaningless. A type of motivation.

Epic Meaning

A desire for experiences that are deeply meaningful to an individual.

Love

The ability to demonstrate unconditional loyalty, deep affection and benevolent concern for others.

Philosophy & Spirituality

The ability to ponder foundational questions concerning the nature of the universe and the meaning of life.

Morals

People commonly adopt principles of right and wrong that they use to judge thoughts and actions.

Altruism

An unselfish desire to make things better even if it means personal sacrifice.

Transcendence

An ability to overcome elements of society or human nature that is inconsistent with your pursuits. For example, an individual who can transcend the common tendency to engage in social comparison to reach a state of joyful self-confidence.

Notes

The list above isn't exhaustive. All the traits above aren't necessarily universal but are common human characteristics.
It is often argued that humans can act in ways that are contrary to their nature. For example, being anti-social when you are innately social.
Overview: Human Nature
Type
Definition
The common dispositions and characteristics of people.
Related Concepts

Human Experience

This is the complete list of articles we have written about human experience.
Activities
Adversity
Beauty
Behavior
Competition
Contentment
Creativity
Culture
Emotion
Empathy
Events
Exercise
Happiness
Human Agency
Human Behavior
Human Beings
Human Culture
Human Nature
Human Needs
Human Perception
Human Spirit
Humanity
Humans
Life Decision
Life Events
Life Problems
Melancholy
Mental Experiences
Mood
Nature Activities
Night
Parties
Passions
Personal Freedom
Personal Life
Personal Needs
Physical Env
Physical Experience
Play
Positive Experiences
Quality Of Life
Seasons
Senses
Silence
Social Status
Society
Spring
State Of Mind
Travel
Working Conditions
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Human Experience

The definition of human experience with examples.

Play

The definition of play with examples.

Emotion

A list of common types of emotion.

Traditions

The definition of tradition with examples.

Technology Opposite

A list of opposites of technology.

Socrates Philosophy

A summary of the philosophy of Socrates.

Happiness

An overview of happiness and its many variations.

Contentment

An overview of contentment.

Perception

A list of the common types of perception.

Philosophy

An overview of philosophy with examples.

Altruism

The definition of altruism with examples and counterexamples.

Virtue

A list of virtues including the twelve virtues of Aristotle.

Nietzsches Philosophy

A summary of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Alienation

The definition of alienation with examples.

Plato Philosophy

An overview of the important theories of Plato.

Infinity

The definition of infinity with examples.

Rationalism

The definition of rationalism with examples.
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