Sociobiology of communication: An interdisciplinary perspective

Patrizia D'Ettorre, David P. Hughes

Research output: Book/ReportBook

11 Scopus citations


Communication is the cornerstone of socially interacting groups. This is self-evident for human societies but not for bacterial biofilms, and super-colonies that span whole continents and transoceanic communication among whales. Since the early beginnings of communication studies, it has always been a stated goal to identify common features of diverse forms of communication (recently also including the internet), but syntheses have been few and historical barriers between sub-disciplines of molecular, evolutionary, chemical, and behavioural biology have been prohibitive stumbling blocks. This book brings together a highly-respected group of authors from a diverse range of fields in biology and beyond, in an attempt to synthesize current understanding of the evolutionary principles of communication, and to identify and explore key directions that will likely be pursued in the coming years. Contributions range from molecular microbiologists untangling the genetic basis of bacterial communication, to behavioural ecologists determining the scope of communication networks among colonial vertebrates. In addition, there are important contributions from theoretical biology (genomic conflict and self organisation), the humanities (linguistics and philosophy), and evolutionary psychology (human mate choice and the evolution of human societies). The book asks - and tentatively answers with some degree of confidence - what the general principles of social communication are.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages328
ISBN (Electronic)9780191712043
ISBN (Print)9780199216840
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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