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The Evolutionary Basis of Communication (1.1)

The Evolutionary Basis of Communication (1.1) - The...

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The Evolutionary Bases of Human Communication I. Communication systems: Chemical, visual, auditory a. Animals need communication because they live in social groups b. Social groups must be organized so that members can engage in collective/coordinated action in pursuit of common goals c. Coordination requires communication d. As species become more complex, they rely on different communication channels i. Invertebrates (microbes, insects): mainly chemical signals (pheromones) ii. Low Vertebrates (fish, reptiles): Mainly visual signals (nonverbal) iii. High vertebrates (birds, mammals): visual & auditory (vocal & verbal) e. Correlation between species complexity and communication channel Chemical Visual Visual + Auditory Signal repertoire size: Low Medium High Combination: No Yes Yes Invention: No Yes Yes Speed of transmission: Slow Fast Fast f. High speed promotes complex sequences of interaction (action reaction) II. Communication differences between primates and humans a. Early Misconceptions i. Primate Language 1. Instinctive (hard wired) 2. Involuntary reactions to biological drives (e.g., hunger) 3. Outward expression of internal emotional states (e.g., fear) ii. Human Language 1. Learned 2. voluntary 3. Can represent symbols/things beyond observable environment (can talk about a tank without seeing it) iii. These are not dichotomies, but rather matters of degree b. Study of Vervet monkeys (Cheyney & Seyfarth, 1980) i. Vervet monkeys produce about 50 audible calls 1. calls assumed to be automatic reactions to emotions 2. found that they have different calls for different predators for the same emotion (eagle attacking vs. panther attacking;
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