- Course Description
This course deals with the communication systems of non-human animals, addressing them both on their own terms and in comparison with the major communication system of human animals--Language. The primary focus will be on communication in bees, birds, mice, and primates, though we will also consider other creatures. From the various perspectives of biology, psychology, and linguistics, we will consider what animals might (be able to) communicate about and how they do it in the wild vs. in contact with humans. Considerable attention will be devoted to evaluating research studies designed to teach human language to non-human primates. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, we will gain a richer understanding of the limits of animals’ communication and cognition abilities, as well as how humans can effectively interact with them. This course counts toward fulfillment of the S&H Breadth of Inquiry requirement.