Advertisement

Animal Cognition

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 597–604 | Cite as

Gesturing towards the future: cognition, big data, and the future of comparative gesture research

  • Erica A. CartmillEmail author
  • Catherine Hobaiter
Conclusion
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Evolving the study of gesture

Abstract

The field of ape gesture research has grown significantly in the past two decades, but progress on the question of gesture development has been limited by methodological and terminological disagreements, small sample sizes, and a lack of fine-grained longitudinal data. The main theories of gesture acquisition are often portrayed as mutually exclusive, but only some theories actually detail learning mechanisms, and differences in the level of analysis may help explain some of the apparent disagreements. Gesture research would benefit greatly from the articulation of more testable hypotheses. We propose two hypotheses that follow from dominant theories of gesture acquisition. We urge scholars to collect new data and leverage existing data in ways that maximize the potential for comparison across datasets and articulation with studies of other communicative modalities. Finally, we advocate for a transition away from using intentionality as a marker of the ‘special status’ of gesture, and towards using gesture as a window onto the lives and minds of apes.

Keywords

Gesture Ape Mechanisms Intentionality Origins of mind 

Notes

References

  1. Bard KA, Maguire-Herring V, Tomonaga M, Matsuzawa T (2017) The gesture ‘Touch’: does meaning-making develop in chimpanzees’ use of a very flexible gesture? Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-017-1136-0 Google Scholar
  2. Byrne RW, Cartmill E, Genty E, Graham KE, Hobaiter C, Tanner J (2017) Great ape gestures: intentional communication with a rich set of innate signals. Anim Cogn 20(4):755–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Call JE, Tomasello ME (2007) The gestural communication of apes and monkeys. Taylor & Francis Group, RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  4. Cartmill EA, Byrne RW (2011) Addressing the problems of intentionality and granularity in non-human primate gesture. In: Stam G, Ishino M (eds) Integrating gestures: the interdisciplinary nature of gesture. John Benjamins, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  5. Cummins J (1978) Bilingualism and the development of metalinguistic awareness. Cross-Cult Psychol 9(2):131–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fröhlich M, Hobaiter C (2018) The development of gestural communication in great apes. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 72(12):194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gasser B, Arbib M (2018) A dyadic brain model of ape gestural learning, production and representation. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-018-1228-5 Google Scholar
  8. Gasser B, Cartmill EA, Arbib MA (2014) Ontogenetic ritualization of primate gesture as a case study in dyadic brain modeling. Neuroinformatics 12(1):93–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Genty E, Breuer T, Hobaiter C, Byrne RW (2009) Gestural communication of the gorilla (Gorilla gorilla): repertoire, intentionality and possible origins. Anim Cogn 12:527–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldin-Meadow S (2003) Hearing gesture: how our hands help us think. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Halina M, Rossano F, Tomasello M (2013) The ontogenetic ritualization of bonobo gestures. Anim Cogn 16(4):653–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Henrich J, Heine SJ, Norenzayan A (2010) Beyond WEIRD: towards a broad-based behavioral science. BehavBrain Sci 33(2–3):111–135Google Scholar
  13. Hobaiter C, Byrne RW (2011a) The gestural repertoire of the wild chimpanzee. Anim Cogn 14(5):745–767CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hobaiter C, Byrne RW (2011b) Serial gesturing by wild chimpanzees: its nature and function for communication. Anim Cogn 14(6):827–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hobaiter C, Byrne RW (2017) What is a gesture? A meaning-based approach to defining gestural repertoires. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 82:3–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kersken V, Gómez JC, Liszkowski U, Soldati A, Hobaiter C (2018) A gestural repertoire of 1- to 2-year-old human children: in search of the ape gestures. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-018-1213-z Google Scholar
  17. Krupenye C, Call J (2019) Theory of mind in animals: current and future directions. WIREs Cogn Sci 1:503.  https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1503 Google Scholar
  18. Lamaury A, Cochet H, Bourjade M (2017) Acquisition of joint attention by olive baboons gesturing toward humans. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-017-1111-9 Google Scholar
  19. Leavens DA, Bard KA, Hopkins WD (2017) The mismeasure of ape social cognition. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-017-1119-1 Google Scholar
  20. Liebal K, Schneider C, Errson-Lembeck M (2018) How primates acquire their gestures: evaluating current theories and evidence. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-018-1187-x Google Scholar
  21. Pika S, Fröhlich M (2018) Gestural acquisition in great apes: the social negotiation hypothesis. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-017-1159-6 Google Scholar
  22. Plooij FX (1978) Some basic traits of language in wild chimpanzees. In: Lock A (ed) Action gesture and symbol: the emergence of language. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. Schel AM, Townsend SW, Machanda Z, Zuberbühler K, Slocombe KE (2013) Chimpanzee alarm call production meets key criteria for intentionality. PLoS One 8(10):e76674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Slocombe KE, Waller BM, Liebal K (2011) The language void: the need for multimodality in primate communication research. Anim Behav 81(5):919–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tinbergen N (1963) On aims and methods of ethology. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 20(4):410–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tomasello M, Call J (2018) Thirty years of great ape gestures. Anim Cogn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-018-1167-1 Google Scholar
  27. Tomasello M, George B, Kruger A, Farrar J, Evans E (1985) The development of gestural communication in young chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 14:175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tomasello M, Gust D, Frost TA (1989) A longitudinal investigation of gestural communication in young chimpanzees. Primates 30:35–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tomasello M, Call J, Nagell K, Olguin R, Carpenter M (1994) The learning and use of gestural signals by young chimpanzees: a trans-generational study. Primates 35(2):137–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vail AL, Manica A, Bshary R (2013) Referential gestures in fish collaborative hunting. Nat Commun 4:1765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Whiten A, Goodall J, McGrew WC, Nishida T, Reynolds V, Sugiyama Y, Tutin C, Wrangham RW, Boesch C (1999) Cultures in chimpanzees. Nature 399(6737):682CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.School of Psychology and NeuroscienceUniversity of St AndrewsSt Andrews, ScotlandUK
  3. 3.Budongo Conservation Field StationMasindiUganda

Personalised recommendations