Hypothesis for Relationship Between Human and Non-human Primate communication Flashcards Preview

Primate Communication > Hypothesis for Relationship Between Human and Non-human Primate communication > Flashcards

Flashcards in Hypothesis for Relationship Between Human and Non-human Primate communication Deck (14)
Loading flashcards...

Gestures Example

Start of the bite shows the canines, this becomes ritualised and now individuals respond to the baring of the teeth before they're bitten. Or gestures that act as an indicator that one wants to play, such as leaping on to one.



-Sensitivity to Audience
-Attention to Receiver Intentional State



Vail et al, 2013

Some fish fulfil three of the most vital criteria of intentionally, therefore is it a precursor to human communication? Either the criteria is not good or intentionality does not tell us much about vocalisation.



These are movements that have meaning. They are not species specific but group/population and one will act as the individuals they know do.


Gestures Hypothesis

A gesture is like a word in the sense that it has meaning and in combination it can work like a sentence when used in combinations. They are learned.


Issues with Gestures and Solution

They are a different modality to human vocal communication so difficult to establish that they were the start of human vocalisation. But much of human communication, as with non human primates is relies on gestures.


Vocalisation Example

The vervet alarm calls which act as words since there are three distinct calls that then provoke three different reaction in the group (Sayfarth, Cheney and Marler, 1980)


Facial Expressions

(Freeberg 2012) states that there is more communication complexity in groups that are larger, live more closely, individuals have different rolls, a more egalitarian structure and that their home range is surrounded by many other groups. This can be paired with Dobson (2009) which states that the larger the residual group size of 12 anthropoid species the more residual facial mobility.



Assumed to be similar to the hominoid early language relates to the sounds and calls that non human primates make as a signal and as a response to certain signals. Some can be innate such as the Squirrel monkeys, showed by Hammerschmidt et al, (2001) which demonstrated that socially isolated and deaf individuals still make the same calls as the 'normal' monkeys when in the same contexts. However, Wich et al, (2012) demonstrated that a genetic similarity between groups doesn't mean that they make the same calls in the same contexts, therefore it demonstrates that the sounds and when they call is not innate but learned during life.


Vocal Hypothesis

Calls such as the vervet alarm calls could be indicated to be like words that mean things like 'cat, snake and eagle'. A combination of vocalisations could be used to express more like a sentence. Is the same modality as human vocal communication. Is learned and even when innate has some flexibility, not in the sound production but an individual can choose how to respond.


Issue with vocal hypothesis

we can never know if these sounds really elicit mental representations in the minds of the animals. Zuberbuhler et al (1999) experiment states that the individuals in the group wont respond very much to the alarm call if they've already heard the animal's sound and vice versa. This demonstrates that the animal noise elicits an image and they're therefore not shocked when other individuals call or the other way around. However, there is a school of thought that states that vocalisations may be emotional and are just a reaction to the situation, which fits with Krebs and Orwens (2001) definition of a signal that its structured to have direct, nervous system based affects on the receivers.


Two definitions of multi-modal communication

- A signal that is made using more than one mode, such as both vocal and gestural.
- Can also be defined as a signal that stimulates more than one sense.
-Multicomponent signal, multiple signals that are unimodal.


Ingrained Signal

Ghazanfar (2010) states that some signals are ingrained. This means that the individual cannot make a particular sound without making a particular facial expression, such as whistling. Therefore, one can just make the facial expression and get the same reaction then if the sound was made too. Ghazanfar and Eliades (2014) shows that individuals can make a decision on whether to just make the face or both modalities, as it can be a waste of energy, dependant on the levels of background noise at the time.


Scott-Philips 2015

This theory suggests that human communication did not arise from any of these but from theory of mind. This is the concept that an individual has the awareness that others have thoughts. Theres some weak evidience that chimps may have it and if they do, it needs to be established whether or not they use it for communication.