Social complexity can drive vocal complexity: Group size influences vocal information in Carolina chickadees

  • Freeberg T
  • 46

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 57

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

One hypothesis to explain variation in vocal communication in animal species is that the complexity of the social group influences the group’s vocal complexity. This social-complexity hypothesis for communication is also central to recent arguments regarding the origins of human language, but experimental tests of the hypothesis are lacking. This study investigated whether group size, a fundamental component of social complexity, influences the complexity of a call functioning in the social organi- zation of Carolina chickadees, Poecile carolinensis.In unmanipulated field settings, calls of individuals in larger groups had greater complexity (more information) than calls of individuals in smaller groups. In aviary settings manipulating group size, individuals in larger groups used calls with greater complexity than individuals in smaller groups. These results indicate that social complexity can influence communicative complexity in this species.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Todd M. Freeberg

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free