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Animal Sonar pp 683-690 | Cite as

Cognitive Aspects of Echolocation

  • Donald R. Griffin
Part of the NATO ASI Science book series (NSSA, volume 156)

Abstract

Echolocation is an active mode of perception. Rather than passively waiting for information to arrive at its sense organs, an echolocating animal emits probing signals and listens for important information supplied by the resulting echoes. A comparably active process is the electric orientation that has independently evolved in several groups of fish. They also broadcast informative energy and gather important information by sensing alterations in the electric fields in which they find themselves. What we might call “active perception” of this sort requires that the brain must both generate the appropriate type of probing signal, which often differs according to the animal’s situation, and then selectively process the raw afferent input from its receptors to obtain the information needed at the moment. This amounts to a sort of dialog between the animal and its environment. Furthermore such active probing for important information suggests spontaneous control by the animal of its own behavior, rather than a set of fixed and automatic responses to external stimulation.

Keywords

Blind People Animal Cognition Sonar System Toothed Whale Animal Consciousness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald R. Griffin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA

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