Referential signaling

C. S. Evans, J. A. Clarke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary/reference book


    Birds and mammals have specific calls that allow companions to predict environmental events, such as the discovery of a particular type of food or the appearance of a predator. These signals are functionally referential and have properties indicating that they encode relatively specific information about eliciting events. The classification of a signal as functionally referential requires consideration of both the caller’s behavior and the receiver’s response. Thus, signal production and perception assume equal importance. Referential signals should be structurally discrete with a degree of stimulus specificity. Responses to referential signals should be specific and incompatible with responses to alternative signals. To date, factors associated with the evolution of referential signaling include sociality, habitat characteristics, and strategies for avoiding predation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of animal behavior
    EditorsMichael D. Breed, Janice Moore
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Print)9780080453378
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Alarm calls
    • Food calls
    • Functional reference
    • Representational signaling


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