The Design of Animal Communication

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 36%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 91%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $3.95   
  • New (7) from $27.98   
  • Used (7) from $3.95   


When animals, including humans, communicate, they convey information and express their perceptions of the world. Because different organisms are able to produce and perceive different signals, the animal world contains a diversity of communication systems. Based on the approach laid out in the 1950s by Nobel laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen, this book looks at animal communication from the four perspectives of mechanisms, ontogeny, function, and phylogeny.

The book's great strength is its broad comparative perspective, which enables the reader to appreciate the diversity of solutions to particular problems of signal design and perception. For example, although the neural circuitry underlying the production of acoustic signals is different in frogs, songbirds, bats, and humans, each involves a set of dedicated pathways designed to solve particular problems of communicative efficiency. Such comparative findings form the basis of a conceptual framework for understanding the mechanisms underlying communication systems and their evolution.

Disc. mechanisms, ontogeny, function & phylogeny; compara- tive perspective.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262582230
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 713
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc D. Hauser is Professor of Psychology and Codirector of the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program at Harvard University.

Mark Konishi is Bing Professor of Behavioral Biology at the California Institute of Technology.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface ix
I Mechanisms of Communication 1
1 Vocal Communication in Xenopus laevis 9
2 The Motor Basis of Vocal Performance in Songbirds 37
3 The Anatomy and Timing of Vocal Learning in Birds 63
4 The Dance Language of Honeybees: Recent Findings and Problems 111
5 Processing Species-specific Calls by Combination-sensitive Neurons in an Echolocating Bat 133
6 A Cellular Basis for Reading Minds from Faces and Actions 159
7 Neural Systems for Recognizing Emotions in Humans 187
8 The Neuroendocrine Basis of Seasonal Changes in Vocal Behavior among Songbirds 213
9 Testosterone, Aggression, and Communication: Ecological Bases of Endocrine Phenomena 255
II Ontogeny of Communication 285
10 On Innateness: Are Sparrow Songs "Learned" or "Innate"? 293
11 Making Ecological Sense of Song Development by Songbirds 319
12 Song- and Order-seective Auditory Responses Emerge in Neurons of the Songbird Anterior Forebrain during Vocal Learning 343
13 Genetics of Canary Song Learning: Innate Mechanisms and Other Neurobiological Considerations 369
14 Production, Usage, and Response in Nonhuman Primate Vocal Development 391
15 Speech, Language, and the Brain: Innate Preparation for Learning 419
III Evolution of Communication 451
16 Signal Evolution in Electric Communication 461
17 Complementary Explanations for Existing Phenotypes in an Acoustic Communication System 493
18 Reproductive Character Displacement and Other Sources of Selection on Acoustic Communication Systems 515
19 Phylogenetic Inference and the Evolution of Communication in Tungara Frogs 535
20 Categorical Perception of Behaviorally Relevant Stimuli by Crickets 559
21 Functions of Song Variation in Song Sparrows 577
22 The Evolution of a Lopsided Brain: Asymmetries Underlying Facial and Vocal Expressions in Primates 597
23 Mechanisms Underlying the Vocalizations of Nonhuman Primates 629
24 Communication and Tool Use in Chimpanzees: Cultural and Social Contexts 645
List of Contributors 673
Name Index 675
Subject Index 689
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)