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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 10 February 2015, Vol.112(6), pp.1658-9
    Description: Author contributions: J.F. wrote the paper.
    Keywords: Discrimination (Psychology) -- Physiology ; Sparrows -- Physiology ; Speech Perception -- Physiology ; Vocalization, Animal -- Physiology
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 2
    Article
    Article
    Language: English
    In: Current Biology, Feb 22, 2016, Vol.26(4), pp.R143-R145
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.002 Byline: Julia Fischer Abstract: An interview with Julia Fischer, Professor of Cognitive Ethology at the German Primate Center and the Georg-August-University in Gottingen, Germany, who studies the evolution of communication, cognition and social behaviour, with a focus on nonhuman primates. Author Affiliation: Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Gottingen, Germany
    Keywords: Animal Behavior
    ISSN: 0960-9822
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Current Biology, 02 November 2015, Vol.25(21), pp.R1028-R1029
    Description: In their study "Vocal Learning in the Functionally Referential Food Grunts of Chimpanzees", Watson et al.[1] claimed that they "provide the first evidence for vocal learning in a referential call in non-humans". We challenge this conclusion, on two counts. For one, we are not convinced that the authors controlled for arousal (or at least they did not report such data); furthermore, the vocal characteristics of the two groups largely overlapped already at the beginning of the study. Accordingly, we also question the authors' claim that their finding "sheds new light on the evolutionary history of human referential words".
    Keywords: Biology
    ISSN: 0960-9822
    E-ISSN: 1879-0445
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, November 2017, Vol.82, pp.22-31
    Description: Two core questions in the study of speech evolution are whether nonhuman primate signals should be conceived as referential, and what the role of social cognition is in primate communication. Current evidence suggests that the structure of primate vocalizations is largely innate and related to the affective/motivational state of the caller, with a probabilistic and underdetermined relationship between specific events and calls. Moreover, nonhuman primates do not appear to express or comprehend communicative or informative intent, which is in line with a lack of mental state attribution to others. We argue that nonhuman primate vocalizations as well as gestures should be best conceived as goal-directed, where signallers are sensitive to the relation between their signalling and receivers’ responses. Receivers in turn use signals to predict signaller behaviour. In combination with their ability to integrate information from multiple sources, this renders the system as a whole relatively powerful, despite the lack of higher-order intentionality on the side of sender or receiver.
    Keywords: Alarm Calls ; Grice ; Intentionality ; Meaning ; Mental State Attribution ; Ostensive Communication ; Primate Communication ; Referential Signalling ; Symbolic Communication ; Vervet Monkeys ; Vocalization ; Anatomy & Physiology
    ISSN: 0149-7634
    E-ISSN: 1873-7528
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  • 5
    Article
    Article
    Language: English
    In: Current Biology, 22 February 2016, Vol.26(4), pp.R143-R145
    Keywords: Biology
    ISSN: 0960-9822
    E-ISSN: 1879-0445
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Animal Behaviour, December 2017, Vol.134, pp.229-237
    Description: The notion that social complexity may drive communicative complexity has invigorated the research interest in the question of how to assess the structural features of a species' communication system. This applies to both the level of the signal repertoire and the level of potential rules governing the succession of elements. This review first provides an overview of some of the most influential studies in the realm of acoustic communication, before turning to a key problem at the foundation of many analyses. Many biological signal repertoires reveal intermediate forms between specific signal types as well as variation within signal types. Therefore, it is often difficult to identify the specific number of signal types (and consequently, their sequential relationships). Nevertheless, subjective classification or ‘hard clustering’ approaches force items into specific categories. Yet, given the graded nature of many repertoires, it may be more appropriate to measure the degree of differentiation within a repertoire, instead of the number of call types, which may also be strongly affected by sampling artefacts. ‘Fuzzy clustering’ provides measures to capture the overall structural variability of a repertoire, i.e. whether they are rather graded or discrete. Because with fuzzy clustering it may also be difficult to identify a single best cluster solution, methods are needed that transcend the number of clusters identified with the cluster analysis. One such approach is the assessment of the distribution of typicality coefficients, which are derived from fuzzy clustering. For the time being, these provide an alternative route to quantitatively test hypotheses regarding the evolution of signal repertoires. Future research should aim to establish a solid mathematical foundation to link the properties of graded repertoires to measures derived from complexity theory. Until then, the notion of complexity to describe the structure of a repertoire should be used with caution.
    Keywords: Bioacoustics ; Call Type ; Fuzzy Clustering ; Hard Clustering ; Information Theory ; Primate ; Repertoire ; Signal ; Vocalization ; Veterinary Medicine ; Zoology ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0003-3472
    E-ISSN: 1095-8282
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2017, Vol.24(1), pp.72-78
    Description: Trying to uncover the roots of human speech and language has been the premier motivation to study the signalling behaviour of nonhuman primates for several decades. Focussing on the question of whether we find evidence for linguistic reference in the production of nonhuman primate vocalizations, I will first discuss how the criteria used to diagnose referential signalling have changed over time, and will then turn to the paradigmatic case of semantic communication in animals, the alarm calls of vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus pygerythrus . A recent in-depth analysis of the original material revealed that, while the alarm calls could be well distinguished, calls of similar structure were also used in within- and between-group aggression. This finding is difficult to reconcile with the idea that calls denote objects in the environment. Furthermore, nonhuman primates show only minimal signs of vocal production learning, one key prerequisite for conventionalized and symbolic communication. In addition, the structure of calls in different populations or closely related species is highly conserved. In conclusion, any continuity between nonhuman primate and human communication appears to be found at the level of the processing of signals. Why and how the ancestors of our own species one day began to talk to each other continues to be an enigma. Future research should focus on changes in the neural structure supporting volitional control over vocalizations, the gene networks associated with vocal production, and the developmental processes involved in the integration of production and perception of vocalizations.
    Keywords: Alarm calls ; Primate communication ; Referential signalling ; Speech evolution
    ISSN: 1069-9384
    E-ISSN: 1531-5320
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, 14 October 2015, Vol.137(40), pp.13114-20
    Description: The electronic structure of a novel lanthanide-based single-ion magnet, {C(NH2)3}5[Er(CO3)4]·11H2O, was comprehensively studied by means of a large number of different spectroscopic techniques, including far-infrared, optical, and magnetic resonance spectroscopies. A thorough analysis, based on crystal field theory, allowed an unambiguous determination of all relevant free ion and crystal field parameters. We show that inclusion of methods sensitive to the nature of the lowest-energy states is essential to arrive at a correct description of the states that are most relevant for the static and dynamic magnetic properties. The spectroscopic investigations also allowed for a full understanding of the magnetic relaxation processes occurring in this system. Thus, the importance of spectroscopic studies for the improvement of single-molecule magnets is underlined.
    Keywords: Spectroscopy – Usage ; Erbium – Chemical Properties ; Erbium – Magnetic Properties ; Erbium – Structure ; Crystal Structure – Analysis;
    ISSN: 00027863
    E-ISSN: 1520-5126
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  • 9
    In: American Journal of Primatology, July 2013, Vol.75(7), pp.643-663
    Description: Acoustic analyses of primate vocalizations as well as playback experiments are staple methods in primatology. Acoustic analyses have been used to investigate the influence of factors such as individuality, context, sex, age, and size on variation in calls. More recent studies have expanded our knowledge on the effects of phylogenetic relatedness and the structure of primate vocal repertoires in general. Complementary playback experiments allow direct testing of hypotheses regarding the attribution of meaning to calls, the cognitive mechanisms underpinning responses, and/or the adaptive value of primate behavior. After briefly touching on the historical background of this field of research, we first provide an introduction to recording primate vocalizations and discuss different approaches to describe primate calls in terms of their temporal and spectral properties. Second, we present a tutorial regarding the preparation, execution, and interpretation of field playback experiments, including a review of studies that have used such approaches to investigate the responses to acoustic variation in calls including the integration of contextual and acoustic information, recognition of kin and social relationships, and social knowledge. Based on the review of the literature and our own experience, we make a number of recommendations regarding the most common problems and pitfalls. The power of acoustic analyses typically hinges on the quality of the recordings and the number of individuals represented in the sample. Playback experiments require profound knowledge of the natural behavior of the animals for solid interpretation; experiments should be conducted sparingly, to avoid habituation of the subjects to the occurrence of the calls; experimenter-blind designs chosen whenever possible; and researchers should brace themselves for long periods of waiting times until the appropriate moments to do the experiment arise. If all these aspects are considered, acoustic analyses and field playback experiments provide unique insights into primate communication and cognition. Am. J. Primatol. 75:643-663, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Copyright John Wiley & Sons. Reproduced with permission. An electronic version of this article is available online at http://www.interscience.wiley.com
    Keywords: Acoustic Analysis ; Alarm Calls ; Cognition ; Communication ; Playback Experiments
    ISSN: 0275-2565
    E-ISSN: 1098-2345
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Animal Behaviour, August 2017, Vol.130, pp.57-66
    Description: Social complexity has been invoked as a driving force shaping communicative and cognitive abilities, and brain evolution more generally. Despite progress in the conceptual understanding of societal structures, there is still a dearth of quantitative measures to capture social complexity. Here we offer a method to quantify social complexity in terms of the diversity of differentiated relationships. We illustrate our approach using data collected from Barbary macaques, , at ‘La Forêt des Singes’ in Rocamadour, France, as well as simulated data sets for a proof-of-concept. Based on affiliative and agonistic behavioural categories, we calculated four indices that characterize social relationships (diversity of behavioural patterns, dyadic composite sociality index, relative interaction frequency and tenor). Using cluster analyses, we identified four different relationship types: rarely interacting agonistic dyads, rarely interacting affiliative dyads, moderately frequently interacting ambivalent dyads and frequently interacting affiliative dyads. We then calculated for each individual a derived diversity score that integrates information about the number and diversity of relationships each subject maintained. At the individual level, one may be interested to identify predictors of this individual diversity score, such as age, rank or sex. At the group level, variation in the relative shares of affiliative and agonistic interactions affects the distribution of individual diversity scores more than the interaction frequency, while the omission of ambivalent relationships (i.e. a discontinuous variation in the share of affiliative or agonistic relationships) leads to greater variation in diversity scores. The number of realized relationships had only a moderate effect. Overall, this method appears to be suited to capture social complexity in terms of the diversity of relationships at the individual and group level. We suggest that this approach is applicable across different species and facilitates quantitative tests of putative drivers in brain evolution.
    Keywords: Barbary Macaques ; Cluster Analysis ; Diversity Indices ; Macaque ; Primate ; Social Brain Hypothesis ; Social Complexity ; Social Relationships ; Veterinary Medicine ; Zoology ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0003-3472
    E-ISSN: 1095-8282
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