Cross-modal correspondences in non-human mammal communication

Ratcliffe, Victoria F, Taylor, Anna M and Reby, David (2015) Cross-modal correspondences in non-human mammal communication. Multisensory Research, 29 (1-3). pp. 49-91. ISSN 2213-4794

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Abstract

For both humans and other animals, the ability to combine information obtained through different senses is fundamental to the perception of the environment. It is well established that humans form systematic cross-modal correspondences between stimulus features that can facilitate the accurate combination of sensory percepts. However, the evolutionary origins of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms involved in these cross-modal associations remain surprisingly underexplored. In this review we outline recent comparative studies investigating how non-human mammals naturally combine information encoded in different sensory modalities during communication. The results of these behavioural studies demonstrate that various mammalian species are able to combine signals from different sensory channels when they are perceived to share the same basic features, either be-
cause they can be redundantly sensed and/or because they are processed in the same way. Moreover, evidence that a wide range of mammals form complex cognitive representations about signallers, both within and across species, suggests that animals also learn to associate different sensory features which regularly co-occur. Further research is now necessary to determine how multisensory representations are formed in individual animals, including the relative importance of low level feature-related correspondences. Such investigations will generate important insights into how animals perceive and
categorise their environment, as well as provide an essential basis for understanding the evolution of
multisensory perception in humans.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Animal, mammal, communication, perception, cross-modal correspondence, multisensory
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2015 10:10
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2017 23:18
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/55873

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