Sociobiology of Communication: an interdisciplinary perspective

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Communication is essential for all forms of social interaction, from parental care to mate choice and cooperation. This is evident for human societies but less obvious for bacterial biofilms, ant colonies or flocks of birds. The major disciplines of communication research have tried to identify common core principles, but syntheses have been few because historical barriers have limited interaction between different research fields. Sociobiology of Communication is a timely and novel synthesis. It bridges many of the gaps between proximate and ultimate levels of analysis, between empirical model systems, and between biology and the humanities. The book offers the complementary approaches of a distinguished group of authors spanning a large diversity of research programs, addressing, for example, the genetic basis of bacterial communication, dishonest communication in insect societies, sexual selection and networkcommunication among colonial vertebrates. Other chapters explore the role of communication in genomic conflict and self-organisation, and how linguistics, psychology and philosophy may ultimately contribute to a biological understanding of human mate choice and the evolution of human societies. This highly interdisciplinary book highlights key examples of modern research to explore the genetic, neurobiological, physiological, chemical and behavioural basis of social communication. It identifies where consensus on the general principles is emerging and where the major future challenges are to be found. The book is therefore suitable for both for graduate students and professionals in evolutionary biology and behavioural ecology seeking novel inspiration, and for a wider academicaudience, including social and medical scientists who would like to explore what evolutionary approaches can offer to their fields.

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