The face is central to primate multicomponent signals

Waller, Bridget M., Kavanagh, Eithne, Micheletta, Jerome , Clark, Peter R. and Whitehouse, Jamie (2023) The face is central to primate multicomponent signals. International Journal of Primatology . ISSN 0164-0291

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The face is central to primate multicomponent signals
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Item Type:Article
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A wealth of experimental and observational evidence suggests that faces have become increasingly important in the communication system of primates over evolutionary time and that both the static and moveable aspects of faces convey considerable information. Therefore, whenever there is a visual component to any multicomponent signal the face is potentially relevant. However, the role of the face is not always considered in primate multicomponent communication research. We review the literature and make a case for greater focus on the face going forward. We propose that the face can be overlooked for two main reasons: first, due to methodological difficulty. Examination of multicomponent signals in primates is difficult, so scientists tend to examine a limited number of signals in combination. Detailed examination of the subtle and dynamic components of facial signals is particularly hard to achieve in studies of primates. Second, due to a common assumption that the face contains “emotional” content. A priori categorisation of facial behavior as “emotional” ignores the potentially communicative and predictive information present in the face that might contribute to signals. In short, we argue that the face is central to multicomponent signals (and also many multimodal signals) and suggest future directions for investigating this phenomenon.

Keywords:Facial expression, Communication, Emotion, Monkey, Ape, multimodal
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:53133
Deposited On:10 Feb 2023 15:50

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