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Analysis of the Temporal Structure of Primate Communication

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In this paper we investigate the temporal structure of primate communication as it could be observed in experiments with squirrel monkey groups. We first ask for the laws that govern the patterning of the behaviour sequences into consecutive time intervals. In particular we are interested in two types of time intervals, the waiting time between two consecutive behaviour events and the duration of an event. As main features of the time structure we find out that the length of intervals depends on the types of the bordering events, and that - given that events - the length of intervals approximately varies according to an exponential law. Next we ask for the relevance which the variation of time intervals has for the animals' communication. We can show that the length of intervals does not determine or modify the communicative meaning of the behaviour events. Rather, by studying the two types of intervals (waiting time and duration) in special communicative situations we find some hints that the relevance of the parameter 'time' lies on a more syntactic level. It seems to enable the behavioural elements be properly put into action so that communication efficiently works.

Affiliations: 1: Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich, F.R.G.

10.1163/156853979X00421
/content/journals/10.1163/156853979x00421
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853979x00421
1979-01-01
2016-12-09

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