Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marmoset monkeys know polite conversation

Date:
October 17, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Humans aren't the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking.

Marmoset monkey.
Credit: Leszek Leszczynski

Humans aren't the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking, according to evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 17.

"We were surprised by how reliably the marmoset monkeys exchanged their vocalizations in a cooperative manner, particularly since in most cases they were doing so with individuals that they were not pair-bonded with," says Asif Ghazanfar of Princeton University. "This makes what we found much more similar to human conversations and very different from the coordinated calling of animals such as birds, frogs, or crickets, which is linked to mating or territorial defense."

In other words, both people and marmosets appear to be willing to "talk" to just about anyone, and without any rude interruptions. The discovery makes marmosets rather unique, the researchers say, noting that chimps and other great apes "not only don't take turns when they vocalize, they don't seem to vocalize much at all, period!"

Ghazanfar and first author of the study Daniel Takahashi were especially interested in marmosets because of two features they hold in common with people: they are generally friendly with one another and they communicate primarily by producing vocal sounds. The scientists suspected that those features would support the self-monitored give and take that a good conversation requires.

To find out, they placed marmosets in opposite corners of a room in which they could hear but not see each other and recorded the exchanges that ensued. They found that marmosets don't call at the same time, but rather wait for about 5 seconds after one is finished calling to respond. In other words, they follow a set of unspoken rules of conversational etiquette.

Further study of the marmosets could help to explain not only why humans communicate with each other as they do but also why conversation can sometimes break down.

"We are currently exploring how very early life experiences in marmosets -- including those in the womb and through to parent-infant vocal interactions -- can illuminate what goes awry in human communication disorders," Ghazanfar says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Takahashi et al. Coupled oscillator dynamics of vocal turn-taking in monkeys. Current Biology, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Marmoset monkeys know polite conversation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135206.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, October 17). Marmoset monkeys know polite conversation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135206.htm
Cell Press. "Marmoset monkeys know polite conversation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135206.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins