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Social coordination in animal vocal interactions. Is there any evidence of turn-taking? The starling as an animal model.

Henry L, Craig AJ, Lemasson A, Hausberger M - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Here we test the hypothesis that turn-taking and associated rules of conversations may be an adaptive response to the requirements of social life, by testing the applicability of turn-taking rules to an animal model, the European starling.These findings lead to solid bases of discussion on the evolution of communication rules in relation to social evolution.They will be discussed also in terms of processes, at the light of recent neurobiological findings.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratoire d'éthologie animale et humaine, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 6552, Université de Rennes 1 Rennes, France.

ABSTRACT
Turn-taking in conversation appears to be a common feature in various human cultures and this universality raises questions about its biological basis and evolutionary trajectory. Functional convergence is a widespread phenomenon in evolution, revealing sometimes striking functional similarities between very distant species even though the mechanisms involved may be different. Studies on mammals (including non-human primates) and bird species with different levels of social coordination reveal that temporal and structural regularities in vocal interactions may depend on the species' social structure. Here we test the hypothesis that turn-taking and associated rules of conversations may be an adaptive response to the requirements of social life, by testing the applicability of turn-taking rules to an animal model, the European starling. Birdsong has for many decades been considered as one of the best models of human language and starling songs have been well described in terms of vocal production and perception. Starlings do have vocal interactions where alternating patterns predominate. Observational and experimental data on vocal interactions reveal that (1) there are indeed clear temporal and structural regularities, (2) the temporal and structural patterning is influenced by the immediate social context, the general social situation, the individual history, and the internal state of the emitter. Comparison of phylogenetically close species of Sturnids reveals that the alternating pattern of vocal interactions varies greatly according to the species' social structure, suggesting that interactional regularities may have evolved together with social systems. These findings lead to solid bases of discussion on the evolution of communication rules in relation to social evolution. They will be discussed also in terms of processes, at the light of recent neurobiological findings.

No MeSH data available.


Song style of birds belonging to colonies of different size. Although the birds were recorded in very different conditions, a clear trend appeared toward an increase in whistling (hence discontinuous songs) and a decrease of warbling (hence continuous song) with increasing colony size (= number of neighbors) (From Hausberger, 1997).
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Figure 4: Song style of birds belonging to colonies of different size. Although the birds were recorded in very different conditions, a clear trend appeared toward an increase in whistling (hence discontinuous songs) and a decrease of warbling (hence continuous song) with increasing colony size (= number of neighbors) (From Hausberger, 1997).

Mentions: Singing style is clearly influenced by the social situation in male starlings. The more birds there are around them, especially in the breeding context, the more they favor the production of discontinuous songs, which is a prerequisite for alternating vocal exchanges. In large colonies, male starling song showed a high proportion of whistles, leaving much opportunity for interactions and transfer of information between neighboring males (Figure 4). Data from breeding sites where the birds nested singly were similar to those obtained in isolated captive birds, revealing that it is more the presence of potential vocal partners than the presence of another bird (mate) that influences the choice of a singing style. Comparison of the same birds in different contexts revealed that there is an individual capacity to adjust the singing style to the social situation.


Social coordination in animal vocal interactions. Is there any evidence of turn-taking? The starling as an animal model.

Henry L, Craig AJ, Lemasson A, Hausberger M - Front Psychol (2015)

Song style of birds belonging to colonies of different size. Although the birds were recorded in very different conditions, a clear trend appeared toward an increase in whistling (hence discontinuous songs) and a decrease of warbling (hence continuous song) with increasing colony size (= number of neighbors) (From Hausberger, 1997).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4585254&req=5

Figure 4: Song style of birds belonging to colonies of different size. Although the birds were recorded in very different conditions, a clear trend appeared toward an increase in whistling (hence discontinuous songs) and a decrease of warbling (hence continuous song) with increasing colony size (= number of neighbors) (From Hausberger, 1997).
Mentions: Singing style is clearly influenced by the social situation in male starlings. The more birds there are around them, especially in the breeding context, the more they favor the production of discontinuous songs, which is a prerequisite for alternating vocal exchanges. In large colonies, male starling song showed a high proportion of whistles, leaving much opportunity for interactions and transfer of information between neighboring males (Figure 4). Data from breeding sites where the birds nested singly were similar to those obtained in isolated captive birds, revealing that it is more the presence of potential vocal partners than the presence of another bird (mate) that influences the choice of a singing style. Comparison of the same birds in different contexts revealed that there is an individual capacity to adjust the singing style to the social situation.

Bottom Line: Here we test the hypothesis that turn-taking and associated rules of conversations may be an adaptive response to the requirements of social life, by testing the applicability of turn-taking rules to an animal model, the European starling.These findings lead to solid bases of discussion on the evolution of communication rules in relation to social evolution.They will be discussed also in terms of processes, at the light of recent neurobiological findings.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratoire d'éthologie animale et humaine, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 6552, Université de Rennes 1 Rennes, France.

ABSTRACT
Turn-taking in conversation appears to be a common feature in various human cultures and this universality raises questions about its biological basis and evolutionary trajectory. Functional convergence is a widespread phenomenon in evolution, revealing sometimes striking functional similarities between very distant species even though the mechanisms involved may be different. Studies on mammals (including non-human primates) and bird species with different levels of social coordination reveal that temporal and structural regularities in vocal interactions may depend on the species' social structure. Here we test the hypothesis that turn-taking and associated rules of conversations may be an adaptive response to the requirements of social life, by testing the applicability of turn-taking rules to an animal model, the European starling. Birdsong has for many decades been considered as one of the best models of human language and starling songs have been well described in terms of vocal production and perception. Starlings do have vocal interactions where alternating patterns predominate. Observational and experimental data on vocal interactions reveal that (1) there are indeed clear temporal and structural regularities, (2) the temporal and structural patterning is influenced by the immediate social context, the general social situation, the individual history, and the internal state of the emitter. Comparison of phylogenetically close species of Sturnids reveals that the alternating pattern of vocal interactions varies greatly according to the species' social structure, suggesting that interactional regularities may have evolved together with social systems. These findings lead to solid bases of discussion on the evolution of communication rules in relation to social evolution. They will be discussed also in terms of processes, at the light of recent neurobiological findings.

No MeSH data available.