The present proposal offers an outline of the planned major Handbook on Mammalian Vocalization, which fills a clear niche existing in the science book literature and on the market. The Handbook is designed as a broad and comprehensive, but well-balanced book, written from the neuroscience point of view in the broad sense of this term. Only a few issues will be reduced, which are extensively covered in other recent book publications. The Handbook is planned in a unique way and will not directly compete with other books on the market. This well-illustrated Handbook will pay a particular attention to systematically organized details but also to the explanatory style of the text and internal cohesiveness of the content, so the successive chapters will gradually develop a consistent story without losing the inherent complexity. Studies from many species will be included, however, rodents will dominate, as most of the brain investigations were done on these species.
The leading idea of the Handbook is that vocalizations evolved as highly adaptive specific signals, which are selectively picked up by the brain. The brain serves as a receptor and behavioural amplifier. Brain systems will be described, which allow vocal signals rapidly changing the entire state of the organism and trigger vital biological responses, usually also with accompanying emission of vocalizations. Integrative brain functions leading to vocal outcome will be described, along with the vocalization generators and motor output to larynx and other supportive motor subsystems. The last sections of the Handbook will explain bioacoustic structure of vocalizations, present understanding of information coding, and origins of the complex semiotic/ semantic content of vocalizations in social mammals.
The Handbook is thought as a major source of information for professionals from many fields, with neuroscience approach as a common denominator. The handbook is planned to provide consistent and unified understanding of all major aspects of vocalization in a monographic manner, and at the same time, to give an encyclopaedic overview of major topics associated with vocalization from molecular/ cellular level to behavior and cognitive processing. It is planned to be written in a strictly scientific way but clear enough to serve not only for specialized researchers in different fields of neuroscience but also for academic teachers of neuroscience, including behavioural neuroscience, affective neuroscience, clinical neuroscience, neuroethology, biopsychology, neurolingusitics, speech pathology, and other related fields, and also for research fellows, graduate and other advanced students, who widely need such a source publication.