Communication and Human Biology

Human biology gives rise to communication action. Although this idea is widely accepted today, until recently, the biological foundations of communication were largely ignored by mainstream communication research. It was not until the end of the 20th century when communication research, which had previously drawn primarily from Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, acknowledged the role of neurobiology in producing communication behavior. This entry first reviews the foundational assumptions about the relationship between communication and human biology, including the effects those assumptions had on this subdiscipline. Next, the two major approaches to this type of research—evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience—are examined. Finally, methodological tools available to researchers are highlighted.

Foundational Assumptions

In the early 1990s, in their effort to stimulate theory-driven investigations, a ...

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