The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication

By Richard L. Conville; L. Edna Rogers | Go to book overview

NOTES
1.
Differences among species are real, and a comparative review of the data on nonhuman social and semiotic behavior suggests a number of dimensions on which such behavior appears to differ (for example, cognitive-perceptual, methods of learning, dependence on contextual constraints). Arbitrariness appears to be one of the more fundamental dimensions in that those other characteristics appear to rest on varying degrees of arbitrariness, which is defined as the extent to which a relationship is independent of genetic constraints.
2.
I am aware that the nature of or what constitutes "reality" is the subject of some serious philosophical discussion. In my view, there are multiple realities -- biogenetic, cognitive, linguistic or symbolic, and so forth. I have tried to be specific about the kind of reality to which I refer and ask the reader sophisticated in the literature on differing views of reality to indulge my sometimes singular use of the term.
3.
The case for evolutionary foundations of social behavior is more easily made using data gleaned from our close evolutionary relatives, the primates. However, comparison with a broad array of species makes the argument more pointed in that more distantly related species provide an especially good test of conservativeness in the evolutionary process.
4.
A. Whiten and R. W. Byrne ( 1988) have collated data on what they term "tactical deception" in primates in order to explore patterns and examine functional consequences of deceptive behavior. Based on this analysis, they provide a typology of deception consisting of five major functional classes: concealment, distraction, creating an image, manipulation of target using social tool, and deflection of target to fall guy. The extent to which each type of deception is suggestive of social perception abilities is considered.
5.
A parallel to this case is found in the development of pidgin languages that emerge where two or more distinct languages (and peoples) converge. D. Bickerton ( 1990), for example, observes that children are the progenitors of the pidgin language.

-22-

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