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Evolution of Emotional CommunicationFrom Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man$
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Eckart Altenmüller, Sabine Schmidt, and Elke Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.001.0001

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Beyond echolocation: Emotional acoustic communication in bats

Beyond echolocation: Emotional acoustic communication in bats

Chapter:
(p.92) Chapter 6 Beyond echolocation: Emotional acoustic communication in bats
Source:
Evolution of Emotional Communication
Author(s):

Sabine Schmidt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.003.0006

Some features of the acoustic communication of emotions in humans may be rooted in mechanisms common to mammals. This chapter addresses sound emission, and perception, during social interactions in bats, a highly vocal group evolutionarily remote from primates, and thus of particular interest for a comparative approach to emotional acoustic communication. Adopting an ‘influencing others’ scenario of communication, the central section aims at a comprehensive discussion of social interactions involving sound production in a model species, Megaderma lyra, characterising behaviours as attractive, cohesive or aversive. In sum, distinct call types, typically consisting of several syllables of similar, or different, frequency-time contour, are linked to the specific behavioural situation, as well as to the part a given bat takes in the respective interaction. The following section discusses consequences of the use of multi-syllabic calls, explores to which extent calls may reflect the emotional relevance of the situation by comparing call types of similar syllable structure emitted in different situations, and relates variability in call structure to affect intensity. Finally, experimental evidence is provided that M. lyra is able to evaluate affect-related cues in social calls.

Keywords:   bat, social call repertoire, hierarchical call structure, acoustic expression of emotion, perception of affect cues

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