Psychology Essay Paper on Communication in Humans and Non-human Animals

Communication in Humans and Non-human Animals


            Studyinghuman and animal behavior is paramount to perpetuate proper understanding of the mental processes that contribute to development of behavior. This paper compares as well as contrasts communication behavior between humans and non-human animals as it occurs in nature.

Communication in humans and non-human animals

            Personal observation has helped me understand that communication is an important behavioral aspect prevailing in both humans and animals. Just as humans have developed different modes in which they communicate, animals have different ways in which they express what is in their minds. Animals, just like humans, have mastered body language with some of them mastering art of sign communication (Bajani, 2012). Chimpanzees can for example shake their heads “no” as a sign of disapproval, similar to what humans do. Personals observations however have helped me t understand that animals use signs to only serve a specific purpose with each sign being used only in one way (Ellen, 2013).

 This is not the case with humans as signs can be used to serve a wide range of functions and a single meaning can be expressed in different ways. Both humans and animals communicate as a way sending a specific message (Bajani, 2012). Animals send messages related to specific stimuli to which they respond and can only send a set of different messages. This is however not the case with humans as they do not send messages that are only limited to stimuli and can use language to send unlimited number of messages. Animals like apes express humanlike traits when portraying enjoyment and laughter. According to Ellen (2013), apes, when tickled produce laughing sounds and facial expressions that are similar to those produced by humans. Apes’ laughter is however low-pitched compared to that of humans. 


            Communication is common both in humans and animals and they both have devised ways in which they express what is in their minds. Both humans and animals use sign language, send messages, and use similar expressions of enjoyment. The capacity, creativity, and response to stimuli are different hence distinguishing communication in animals and humans.


Bajani, B. (2012). Animal Communication and the Origin of Human Language, Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, 2(1):98-133.

Ellen, G. (2013). Animals Erased: Discourse, Ecology, and Reconnection with the Natural World, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 90(2); 78-190.