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Using information theory to assess the diversity, complexity, and development of communicative repertoires.

Authors
  • McCowan, Brenda
  • Doyle, Laurance R
  • Hanser, Sean F
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Publisher
American Psychological Association
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2002
Volume
116
Issue
2
Pages
166–172
Identifiers
PMID: 12083612
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The application of quantitative and comparative measures from information theory on animal communication can provide novel insights into the ecological, environmental, social, and contextual properties that shape the structure, organization, and function of signal repertoires. Using 2 phylogenetically different mammalian species that share similar ecological and social constraints as examples, the authors quantitatively examined the internal structure and development of a subsystem of these species' vocal repertoires in comparison with that of human language and illustrated that these species exhibit convergent developmental processes. The authors also discussed how predictions on the structure and organization of animal communication systems can be made from this new application of information theoretic measures with respect to behavioral ecology.

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