Animal Communication Theory

Animal Communication Theory : Information and Influence

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The explanation of animal communication by means of concepts like information, meaning and reference is one of the central foundational issues in animal behaviour studies. This book explores these issues, revolving around questions such as: * What is the nature of information? * What theoretical roles does information play in animal communication studies? * Is it justified to employ these concepts in order to explain animal communication? * What is the relation between animal signals and human language? The book approaches the topic from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including ethology, animal cognition, theoretical biology and evolutionary biology, as well as philosophy of biology and mind. A comprehensive introduction familiarises non-specialists with the field and leads on to chapters ranging from philosophical and theoretical analyses to case studies involving primates, birds and insects. The resulting survey of new and established concepts and methodologies will guide future empirical and theoretical more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 32 b/w illus. 9 tables
  • 1139003550
  • 9781139003551

Review quote

The best aspect of the book [is] that it not only provides ideas about communication but the evidence and thought processes behind them - an excellent example of scientific theory making in action. Summing up: highly recommended.' J. A. Mather, Choice 'This book debates the role of information in animal communication by presenting opinion and evidence from diverse disciplines, such as evolutionary biology, ethology, linguistics, and neurophysiology. It also includes valuable philosophical contributions about the nature of information and meaning.' David R. Wilson, The Quarterly Review of Biology 'I would recommend the book to readers who already have a solid understanding of the concepts of behavioural ecology and want a stimulus to think about key issues in communication and to explore the literature more broadly. A unique contribution the book makes is its interdisciplinary set of authors: as a newcomer to linguistics and philosophy, I found the chapters on these disciplines to be an interesting taste of these fields' approaches. This thought-provoking book would make for a good semester-long graduate-level seminar: I anticipate that many of its chapters would generate lively discussion among researchers on animal communication.' Jessie Barker, International Society for Behavioral Ecology Newslettershow more

Table of contents

List of contributors; A primer on information and influence in animal communication Ulrich E. Stegmann; Part I. Varieties of Information: 1. Influence and information in communication networks Andrew G. Horn and Peter McGregor; 2. Animal communication as information-mediated influence Andrea Scarantino; 3. Communication as information use: insights from statistical decision theory Caitlin R. Kight, John M. McNamara, David W. Stephens and Sasha R. X. Dall; 4. Communication as a transfer of information: measurement, mechanism, and meaning R. Haven Wiley; 5. Natural information, intentional signs and animal communication Ruth G. Millikan; Part II. Influence and Manipulation: 6. Communication without meaning or information: abandoning language-based and informational constructs in animal communication Drew Rendall and Michael J. Owren; 7. Information in animal communication: when and why does it matter? Sahotra Sarkar; 8. Mitogenetic rays and the information metaphor: transmitted information has seen its day Eugene S. Morton and Richard G. Coss; 9. The importance of integrative biology to sexual selection and communication Michael J. Ryan; Part III. Case Studies: 10. Animal signals: always influence, sometimes information Claire Horisk and Reginald B. Cocroft; 11. Learned signals and consistency of delivery: a case against receiver manipulation in animal communication Carlos A. Botero and Selvino R. de Kort; 12. Information, inference and meaning in primate vocal behaviour Julia Fischer; 13. Information and uncertainty in meerkats and monkeys Colin Allen; 14. The neural representation of vocalisation perception Kate L. Christison-Lagay and Yale E. Cohen; Part IV. Animal Signals in Evolutionary Perspective: 15. The value of information in biology Michael Lachmann; 16. Information and influence in sender-receiver models, with applications to animal behaviour Peter Godfrey-Smith; Part V. From Animal Signals to Human Language: 17. Information, meaning, and animal communication Fred Adams and Steve Beighley; 18. Information, influence and inference in language evolution Thomas C. Scott-Phillips and Simon Kirby; more

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