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Animal ThinkingContemporary Issues in Comparative Cognition$
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Randolf Menzel and Julia Fischer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016636

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016636.001.0001

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Where Is the Information in Animal Communication?

Where Is the Information in Animal Communication?

(p.151) 10 Where Is the Information in Animal Communication?
Animal Thinking

Julia Fischer

The MIT Press

Communication is a central topic in animal behavior studies and yet the dispute over what constitutes communication is far from settled. This chapter provides an integrative framework that views communication, in its elementary form, as an interaction between two individuals (sender and receiver) involving the use of signals by the sender as well as the processing of and responses to those signals by the receiver. This framework defends the concept of information but rejects the notion that senders are generally selected to “provide” information and that information is “encoded” within a signal. The notion that animals process information creates a bridge from studies of communication to those assessing the cognitive underpinnings of communicative behavior.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, animal communication, animal behavior, signaling, contextual cues, information coding, message and meaning

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