Category Archives: Communication

Unique voice prints in parrots could help birds be recognized in a flock, no matter what they say

Max Planck Society reports: Parrots are exceptional talkers. They can learn new sounds during their entire lives, amassing an almost unlimited vocal repertoire. At the same time, parrots produce calls so they can be individually recognized by members of their flock—raising the question of how their calls can be very variable while also uniquely identifiable.… Read More »

Unlocking secrets of the honeybee dance language – bees learn and culturally transmit their communication skills

A honeybee is performing the waggle dance in the center of this photo to communicate the location of a rich nectar source to its nestmates. Heather Broccard-Bell, CC BY-ND By James C. Nieh, University of California, San Diego The Greek historian Herodotus reported over 2,000 years ago on a misguided forbidden experiment in which two… Read More »

The art of active listening

M M Owen writes: Writing in Esquire magazine in 1935, Ernest Hemingway offered this advice to young writers: ‘When people talk, listen completely… Most people never listen.’ Even though Hemingway was one of my teenage heroes, the realisation crept up on me, somewhere around the age of 25: I am most people. I never listen.… Read More »

Mushrooms communicate with each other using up to 50 ‘words’, scientist claims

The Guardian reports: Buried in forest litter or sprouting from trees, fungi might give the impression of being silent and relatively self-contained organisms, but a new study suggests they may be champignon communicators. Mathematical analysis of the electrical signals fungi seemingly send to one another has identified patterns that bear a striking structural similarity to… Read More »

I’m not sorry for my delay

Joe Pinsker writes: At first, being reachable all the time felt good. To professionals who started using BlackBerries 20 years ago to conduct business on the go, it registered as a superpower. “They felt like masters of the universe,” Melissa Mazmanian, an informatics professor at UC Irvine who studied the devices’ uptake in the early… Read More »

We taught bees a simple number language – and they got it

Maybe the differences between human and non-human animals are not as great as we might previously have thought. from By Scarlett Howard, Université de Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier; Adrian Dyer, RMIT University, and Andrew Greentree, RMIT University Most children learn that written numbers represent quantities in pre-school or junior primary school. Now our… Read More »

Green monkeys borrow vervet monkeys’ eagle warning call when threatened by drones reports: Some 40 years ago, scientists discovered that East African vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) produce distinct alarm calls when they encounter their three main predators: leopards, snakes and eagles. Their cousins in West Africa, green monkeys (Chlorocebus sabaeus), are also known to cry out at the sight of leopard and snakes, but for some… Read More »

Macaques take turns in conversation

Science News reports: The researchers analyzed 64 vocal exchanges, called bouts, between at least two monkeys that were recorded between April and October 2012 at the Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto, Japan. The team found that the median length of time between the end of one monkey’s calls and the beginning of another’s was 250… Read More »

The value of well-crafted language

Greg Laden writes: Twenty five centuries ago, long before the start of the common era, the written record about the spoken language began. The ancient Greeks were not likely the first to study speech and communication, and they certainly were not the first to write stuff down, but among the early writers, they were probably… Read More »

How emoji are changing the way we communicate

Wired reports: Two years ago, Sanjaya Wijeratne—a computer science PhD student at Wright State University—noticed something odd in his research. He was studying the communication of gang members on Twitter. Among the grandstanding about drugs and money, he found gang members repeatedly dropping the ⛽ emoji in their tweets. Wijeratne had been working on separate… Read More »