Karl Grammer, Bernhard Fink, and L Renninger (2002)

Dynamic systems and inferential information processing in human communication

Neuroendocrinology Letters, 23(Suppl. 4):15-22.

Research in human communication on an ethological basis is almost obsolete.
The reasons for this are manifold and lie partially in methodological prob-
lems connected to the observation and description of behavior, as well as the
nature of human behavior itself. In this chapter, we present a new, non-intru-
sive, technical approach to the analysis of human non-verbal behavior, which
could help to solve the problem of categorization that plagues the traditional
approaches. We utilize evolutionary theory to propose a new theory-driven
methodological approach to the ‘multi-unit multi-channel modulation’ prob-
lem of human nonverbal communication. Within this concept, communication
is seen as context-dependent (the meaning of a signal is adapted to the situ-
ation), as a multi-channel and a multi-unit process (a string of many events
interrelated in ‘communicative’ space and time), and as related to the func-
tion it serves. Such an approach can be utilized to successfully bridge the gap
between evolutionary psychological research, which focuses on social cognition
adaptations, and human ethology, which describes every day behavior in an
objective, systematic way.