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The repertoire and intentionality of gestural communication in wild chimpanzees

Roberts, AI and Roberts, SGB and Vick, S-J (2013) The repertoire and intentionality of gestural communication in wild chimpanzees. Animal Cognition, 17 (2). pp. 317-336. ISSN 1435-9456

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Abstract

A growing body of evidence suggests that human language may have emerged primarily in the gestural rather than vocal domain, and that studying gestural communication in great apes is crucial to understanding language evolution. Although manual and bodily gestures are considered distinct at a neural level, there has been very limited consideration of potential differences at a behavioural level. In this study, we conducted naturalistic observations of adult wild East African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in order to establish a repertoire of gestures, and examine intentionality of gesture production, use and comprehension, comparing across manual and bodily gestures. At the population level, 120 distinct gesture types were identified, consisting of 65 manual gestures and 55 bodily gestures. Both bodily and manual gestures were used intentionally and effectively to attain specific goals, by signallers who were sensitive to recipient attention. However, manual gestures differed from bodily gestures in terms of communicative persistence, indicating a qualitatively different form of behavioural flexibility in achieving goals. Both repertoire size and frequency of manual gesturing were more affiliative than bodily gestures, while bodily gestures were more antagonistic. These results indicate that manual gestures may have played a significant role in the emergence of increased flexibility in great ape communication and social bonding.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at link.springer.com via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-013-0664-5
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 12:33
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2017 12:33
DOI or Identification number: 10.1007/s10071-013-0664-5
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7526

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