Animal Vocal Communication: A New Approach

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Denison University presents "Animal Vocal Communication: A New Approach" by Donald H. Owings and Eugene S. Morton

Animal Vocal Communication explicitly avoids human-centered concepts and approaches and links communication to fundamental biological processes instead. Written by a psychologist and a zoologist, it offers a new conceptual framework—assessment/management—that integrates detailed studies of communication with an understanding of evolutionary perspectives. The authors describe animals as managers, attempting to get other animals to behave in ways beneficial to the managing animal; and as assessors, behaving in their own interests that may or may not be in the interests of the manager. The authors contend that it is this interplay between management and assessment that results in the functioning and evolution of animal communication; it is what communicative behavior accomplishes that is important, not what information is conveyed.