Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Author's Response

The emergence of a new paradigm in ape language research: Beyond interactionism

Stuart G. Shanker a1 and Barbara J. King a2
a1 Departments of Philosophy and Psychology, York University, North York, Ontario, Canada M4S 1B4
a2 Department of Anthropology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187


We group the issues raised in the commentaries into five major sections. In the first, section R1, we consider some of the antecedents to dynamic systems (DS) in psychology, biology, anthropology, and primatology and note the key changes that have occurred in DS over the past ten years. Next, in section R2, we explain the ways in which co-regulation differs markedly from interactional synchrony, focusing in particular on the creation of meaning inherent in co-regulated communication. The following section (R3) clarifies the challenge that DS poses to Cartesian assumptions about the nature of communication and contrasts this position with behaviorism. In the next section (R4) we reject the notion that IP and DS may be, in fact, compatible paradigms. Finally, we explain the exciting future we envision for using DS to facilitate consideration of evolutionary questions, particularly those concerning the comparative evolutionary development of socio-emotional dynamics between partners (section R5).