Vocal turn-taking in meerkat group calling sessions

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dc.contributor.author Demartsev, Vlad
dc.contributor.author Strandburg-Peshkin, Ariana
dc.contributor.author Ruffner, Michaela
dc.contributor.author Manser, M.B. (Marta)
dc.date.accessioned 2018-12-10T09:07:37Z
dc.date.issued 2018-11
dc.description.abstract Coordination is a fundamental aspect of social living, underlying processes ranging from the maintenance of group cohesion to the avoidance of competition. Coordination can manifest as synchronization, where individuals perform the same action at the same time but can also take the form of anti-synchronization or turn-taking. Turn-taking has mainly been studied in the context of the development of language due to the fact that it is a universal feature in all languages and has been found to appear early in infancy. Recently, turn-taking has received attention in animal communication research as a potential foundation on which social communication was formed. In this study, we describe turn-taking in group-wide vocal interactions of meerkats (Suricata suricatta) during low-conflict sunning behavior, which is accompanied by the production of specific “sunning calls.” We show that sunning-call production is socially stimulated and that at the group level, meerkats avoid overlap, thus fulfilling a key principle of turn-taking. Through observational data and playback experiments, we show that these group-level patterns arise from two individual-level rules: call inhibition over short timescales, which prevents mutual interference, and call excitation over longer timescales, which stimulates further group calling. These simple rules suggest that hierarchy formation and turn allocation are not required for achieving group-wide coordination of communication. We also suggest that the potential bonding function of turn-taking shown in humans might have similar effects in animal interactions. en_ZA
dc.description.department Mammal Research Institute en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2019-11-08
dc.description.librarian hj2018 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship V.D. was funded by Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship, and A.S.-P. received funding from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, a Human Frontier Science Program Long-Term Fellowship ( LT000492/2017), and the Gips-Schüle Foundation. This paper has relied on data collected and maintained by the KMP, which has been financed by the University of Cambridge and the University of Zürich, the European Research Council (research grant no 294494 to T.H. Clutton-Brock since January 7, 2012). en_ZA
dc.description.uri https://www.journals.elsevier.com/current-biology en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Demartsev, V., Strandburg-Peshkin, A., Ruffner, M. & Manser, M. 2018, 'Vocal turn-taking in meerkat group calling sessions', Current Biology, vol. 28, no. 22, pp. 3661-3666.e3. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0960-9822 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1879-0445 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.cub.2018.09.065
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/68072
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Elsevier (Cell Press) en_ZA
dc.rights © 2018 Elsevier. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Current Biology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. A definitive version was subsequently published in Current Biology, vol. 28, no. 22, pp. 3661-3666.e3, 2018. doi : 10.1016/j.cub.2018.09.065. en_ZA
dc.subject Group interaction en_ZA
dc.subject Turn-taking en_ZA
dc.subject Vocal coordination en_ZA
dc.subject Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) en_ZA
dc.title Vocal turn-taking in meerkat group calling sessions en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA


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