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From animal signals to art : manipulative animal signaling and the evolutionary foundations of aesthetic behavior and art production

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Abstract
As humans are evolved animals, we propose a nonanthropocentric framework based on animal signaling theory to understand the evolutionary foundations of human art, instead of a classical anthropocentric approach based on sociocultural anthropology that may incorporate evolutionary thinking but does not start with it. First, we provide a concise review of the basics of the evolutionary theory of animal communication or signaling. Second, we apply this theory to specifically human aesthetic behavior and art and provide four empirical arguments or factors that reduce the conceptual gap between nonhuman animal signaling and human aesthetic-artistic behavior (two from the nonhuman and two from the human side) and that, as such, grant an implementation of human aesthetic behavior and art production within animal signaling theory. And, third, we explore the theory’s explanatory power and value when applied to aesthetic behavior and art production through proposing four valuable insights or hypotheses that it may contribute or generate: on art’s operation within multiple functionally adaptive signaling contexts; on the basic evolutionary economics of art or what art is (for); on why art is functionally adaptive rather than a nonfunctional byproduct; and on how art is functionally rooted in competitive-manipulative animal signaling and—unlike language—only to a lesser extent in cooperative-informative signaling. Overall, animal signaling theory offers a potentially integrating account of the arts because humans and their signaling behaviors are conceptually situated within a broader, transhuman field that also comprises nonhuman species and their behaviors, thus allowing for an identification of deeper commonalities (homologs, analogs) as well as unique differences. As such, we hope to increase insights into how acoustic, gestural/postural, visual, olfactory, and gustatory animal signaling evolved into music, dance, visual art, perfumery, and gastronomy, respectively.
Keywords
sociocultural anthropocentrism versus evolutionary nonanthropocentrism, animal communication or signaling theory, competition and cooperation, manipulation versus assessment, information, aesthetics, art, symbolism, language

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MLA
De Tiège, Alexis, et al. “From Animal Signals to Art : Manipulative Animal Signaling and the Evolutionary Foundations of Aesthetic Behavior and Art Production.” QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY, vol. 96, no. 1, 2021, pp. 1–27, doi:10.1086/713210.
APA
De Tiège, A., Verpooten, J., & Braeckman, J. (2021). From animal signals to art : manipulative animal signaling and the evolutionary foundations of aesthetic behavior and art production. QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY, 96(1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1086/713210
Chicago author-date
De Tiège, Alexis, Jan Verpooten, and Johan Braeckman. 2021. “From Animal Signals to Art : Manipulative Animal Signaling and the Evolutionary Foundations of Aesthetic Behavior and Art Production.” QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY 96 (1): 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1086/713210.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Tiège, Alexis, Jan Verpooten, and Johan Braeckman. 2021. “From Animal Signals to Art : Manipulative Animal Signaling and the Evolutionary Foundations of Aesthetic Behavior and Art Production.” QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY 96 (1): 1–27. doi:10.1086/713210.
Vancouver
1.
De Tiège A, Verpooten J, Braeckman J. From animal signals to art : manipulative animal signaling and the evolutionary foundations of aesthetic behavior and art production. QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY. 2021;96(1):1–27.
IEEE
[1]
A. De Tiège, J. Verpooten, and J. Braeckman, “From animal signals to art : manipulative animal signaling and the evolutionary foundations of aesthetic behavior and art production,” QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY, vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 1–27, 2021.
@article{8693131,
  abstract     = {{As humans are evolved animals, we propose a nonanthropocentric framework based on animal signaling theory to understand the evolutionary foundations of human art, instead of a classical anthropocentric approach based on sociocultural anthropology that may incorporate evolutionary thinking but does not start with it. First, we provide a concise review of the basics of the evolutionary theory of animal communication or signaling. Second, we apply this theory to specifically human aesthetic behavior and art and provide four empirical arguments or factors that reduce the conceptual gap between nonhuman animal signaling and human aesthetic-artistic behavior (two from the nonhuman and two from the human side) and that, as such, grant an implementation of human aesthetic behavior and art production within animal signaling theory. And, third, we explore the theory’s explanatory power and value when applied to aesthetic behavior and art production through proposing four valuable insights or hypotheses that it may contribute or generate: on art’s operation within multiple functionally adaptive signaling contexts; on the basic evolutionary economics of art or what art is (for); on why art is functionally adaptive rather than a nonfunctional byproduct; and on how art is functionally rooted in competitive-manipulative animal signaling and—unlike language—only to a lesser extent in cooperative-informative signaling. Overall, animal signaling theory offers a potentially integrating account of the arts because humans and their signaling behaviors are conceptually situated within a broader, transhuman field that also comprises nonhuman species and their behaviors, thus allowing for an identification of deeper commonalities (homologs, analogs) as well as unique differences. As such, we hope to increase insights into how acoustic, gestural/postural, visual, olfactory, and gustatory animal signaling evolved into music, dance, visual art, perfumery, and gastronomy, respectively.}},
  author       = {{De Tiège, Alexis and Verpooten, Jan and Braeckman, Johan}},
  issn         = {{0033-5770}},
  journal      = {{QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY}},
  keywords     = {{sociocultural anthropocentrism versus evolutionary nonanthropocentrism,animal communication or signaling theory,competition and cooperation,manipulation versus assessment,information,aesthetics,art,symbolism,language}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  pages        = {{1--27}},
  title        = {{From animal signals to art : manipulative animal signaling and the evolutionary foundations of aesthetic behavior and art production}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/713210}},
  volume       = {{96}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}

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