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Evolution of Communicative FlexibilityComplexity, Creativity, and Adaptability in Human and Animal Communication$
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D. Kimbrough Oller and Ulrike Griebel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262151214

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262151214.001.0001

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Contextual Sensitivity and Bird Song: A Basis for Social Life

Contextual Sensitivity and Bird Song: A Basis for Social Life

(p.120) (p.121) 6 Contextual Sensitivity and Bird Song: A Basis for Social Life
Evolution of Communicative Flexibility

Martine Hausberger

Laurence Henry

Benoît Testé

Stéphanie Barbu

The MIT Press

This chapter presents evidence from songbirds of evolutionary convergence with certain features of the vocal flexibility found in humans, addresses human communication skills as a reference, and analyzes the possible convergences in animal species, highlighting a particular social songbird species. It suggests that animal communication may offer a useful reminder that the evolution of most basic principles of communication rules and contextual sensitivity may not have required higher cognitive processes. The chapter also proposes that regulations of vocal interactions, their contextual sensitivity, and dependency upon social experience indicate further convergence with human communication.

Keywords:   songbirds, vocal flexibility, human communication, animal communication, vocal interactions, contextual sensitivity, social experience

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