Ulrike Griebel

  • Evolution of Communicative Flexibility

    Evolution of Communicative Flexibility

    Complexity, Creativity, and Adaptability in Human and Animal Communication

    D. Kimbrough Oller and Ulrike Griebel

    Experts investigate communicative flexibility (in both form and usage of signals) as the foundation of the evolution of complex communication systems, including human language.

    The evolutionary roots of human communication are difficult to trace, but recent comparative research suggests that the first key step in that evolutionary history may have been the establishment of basic communicative flexibility—the ability to vocalize freely combined with the capability to coordinate vocalization with communicative intent. The contributors to this volume investigate how some species (particularly ancient hominids) broke free of the constraints of “fixed signals,” actions that were evolved to communicate but lack the flexibility of language—a newborn infant's cry, for example, always signals distress and has a stereotypical form not modifiable by the crying baby. Fundamentally, the contributors ask what communicative flexibility is and what evolutionary conditions can produce it. The accounts offered in these chapters are notable for taking the question of language origins farther back in evolutionary time than in much previous work. Many contributors address the very earliest communicative break of the hominid line from the primate background; others examine the evolutionary origins of flexibility in, for example, birds and marine mammals. The volume's interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives illuminate issues that are on the cutting edge of recent research on this topic.

    Contributors Stéphanie Barbu, Curt Burgess, Josep Call, Laurance Doyle, Julia Fischer, Michael Goldstein, Ulrike Griebel, Kurt Hammerschmidt, Sean Hanser, Martine Hausberger, Laurence Henry, Allison Kaufman, Stan Kuczaj, Robert F. Lachlan, Brian MacWhinney, Radhika Makecha, Brenda McCowan, D. Kimbrough Oller, Michael Owren, Ron Schusterman, Charles T. Snowdon, Kim Sterelny, Benoît Testé, Gert Westermann

    • Hardcover $11.75 £9.99
    • Paperback $40.00 £32.00
  • Evolution of Communication Systems

    Evolution of Communication Systems

    A Comparative Approach

    D. Kimbrough Oller and Ulrike Griebel

    Laying foundations for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of evolution in communication systems with tools from evolutionary biology, linguistics, animal behavior, developmental psychology, philosophy, cognitive sciences, robotics, and neural network modeling.

    The search for origins of communication in a wide variety of species including humans is rapidly becoming a thoroughly interdisciplinary enterprise. In this volume, scientists engaged in the fields of evolutionary biology, linguistics, animal behavior, developmental psychology, philosophy, the cognitive sciences, robotics, and neural network modeling come together to explore a comparative approach to the evolution of communication systems. The comparisons range from parrot talk to squid skin displays, from human language to Aibo the robot dog's language learning, and from monkey babbling to the newborn human infant cry. The authors explore the mysterious circumstances surrounding the emergence of human language, which they propose to be intricately connected with drastic changes in human lifestyle. While it is not yet clear what the physical environmental circumstances were that fostered social changes in the hominid line, the volume offers converging evidence and theory from several lines of research suggesting that language depended upon the restructuring of ancient human social groups. The volume also offers new theoretical treatments of both primitive communication systems and human language, providing new perspectives on how to recognize both their similarities and their differences. Explorations of new technologies in robotics, neural network modeling and pattern recognition offer many opportunities to simulate and evaluate theoretical proposals. The North American and European scientists who have contributed to this volume represent a vanguard of thinking about how humanity came to have the capacity for language and how nonhumans provide a background of remarkable capabilities that help clarify the foundations of speech.

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99