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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Non-human animals use vocalizations for a variety of emotional and social functions. The chapter begins with a brief discussion of theoretical issues concerning vocal communication in non-human species. It applies Darwin’s comparative approach to visual signals of emotional expression to vocal signals, using music as an example of human emotional communication from which parallels to animal signals can be seen. The relationship between affective state and vocal signals across species is reviewed to identify whether there are some cross-species universals in acoustic structure that communicate affective state. The chapter then examines the induction of emotional states in listeners through different call structures. One of the main social aspects of vocal communication is signalling identity—species, population, group, sex, mate, and individual. Two additional areas of interest are calls used to signal status and those used to mark close social relationships between individuals within a group. Social interactions can shape vocal structure to create convergence in calls or to help young animals acquire adult skills. Vocalizations of many species are also used in flexible, rather than stereotyped, ways in response to social and environmental cues.

Keywords: call structure, cost and benefit, emotional contagion, social influence, vocal structure, vocal indicator, vocal flexibility, vocal identifier

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