As a species, humans enjoy an exceptionally rich learning environment due to the ability to communicate with and learn from one another. With each new social interaction, an individual has the potential to gain vicarious experience with contexts, situations, or events that are foreign to him or herself, but are known by another person. As a result, our sociality extends the scope of our learning environments as far as our social networks reach. Over time, that reach has been continually expanded through the development of transportation and communication technologies that serve to connect people across greater spans of distance and with a wider array of others. For example, airplanes make it possible for scholars to travel to international conferences and learn from the ideas of peers living in distant locations. Writing and the printing press make it possible for historians to learn from the experiences of people who lived in times past. More recently, advances in Internet technologies and social media have enabled people to connect with and learn from more distant and diverse others than ever before (see also Amichai-Hamburger & Etgar, and Dunn & Dwyer, this volume). Taken together, these developments have contributed to the expansion of modern-day learning environments by increasing the scope of possible social interaction and the sheer number of others from whom one can learn.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Psychology