Studies in Communication: Contributed to the Communication Research Centre, University College, London

By A. J. Ayer; J. Z. Young et al. | Go to book overview

COMMUNICATION IN BIOLOGY
J. B. S. HALDANE Weldon Professor of Biometry in the University of London, at University CollegeWe can classify those communications with which a biologist is concerned by the nature of the communicator X and the recipient Y, and also by the material basis of the signal S, or the organ of Y which apprehends it. The most important signals can be classified as chemical, optical and auditory; but tactile, electrical and other signals can be important. I shall here consider four classes of communication:
Between parts of the same cell.
Between cells in the same organism.
Between organisms of the same species.
Between organisms of different species.

I shall say nothing about the first except that it has been very fully and clearly dealt with in Professor Katz' inaugural lecture at University College.* The second class of communications consists of those as a result of which an organism is an organism and not a mere aggregate of cells. Again my colleagues Professors Brown, Young and Katz could describe them better than I can.

Apart from intracellular communication the simplest form known to us is communication between Protozoa, one-celled organisms. They are too small to have eyes or ears, so communication between them not involving contact is chemical communication. To take one example, there are at least six different biochemical types of the ciliate Euplotes patella, each producing either one or two of three different chemical substances, when sexually mature. Any of these substances induces

____________________
*
'Different forms of Signalling employed by The Nervous System', 31st January 1952.

-29-

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Studies in Communication: Contributed to the Communication Research Centre, University College, London
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • What is Communication? 11
  • Communication in Biology 29
  • 'Communication Theory' -- and Human Behaviour 45
  • Communication in Economic Systems 69
  • The Influence of Language on Medicine 91
  • Interpretation of Visual Symbols in the Arts 109
  • Communication of Thought in Ancient Greece 125
  • The Experimental Study of Speech 147
  • Colloquial English and Communication 169
  • Appendix 181
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