Modelling Animal Interactive Rhythms in Communication
Authored by Andrea Ravignani, Reus Koen de
Date Published: 2019
Flanders Research Foundation
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Time is one crucial dimension conveying information in animal
communication. Evolution has shaped animals' nervous systems to produce
signals with temporal properties fitting their socio-ecological niches.
Many quantitative models of mechanisms underlying rhythmic behaviour
exist, spanning insects, crustaceans, birds, amphibians, and mammals.
However, these computational and mathematical models are often presented
in isolation. Here, we provide an overview of the main mathematical
models employed in the study of animal rhythmic communication among
conspecifics. After presenting basic definitions and mathematical
formalisms, we discuss each individual model. These computational models
are then compared using simulated data to uncover similarities and key
differences in the underlying mechanisms found across species. Our
review of the empirical literature is admittedly limited. We stress the
need of using comparative computer simulations - both before and after
animal experiments - to better understand animal timing in interaction.
We hope this article will serve as a potential first step towards a
common computational framework to describe temporal interactions in
animals, including humans.