Communication

Mother and pup of the bat species Saccopteryx bilineata. Similar to human infants, pups begin babbling at a young age as they develop language skills.

Baby Bats Babble—Just Like Human Infants

Both species make similar sounds as they develop language skills at an early age

A new study of western diamondback rattlesnakes reveals that they abruptly shift to a high-frequency rattle as danger approaches.

Rattlesnakes Fool Humans Into Thinking They're Nearby With This Sound-Warping Trick

A new study reveals the snakes change the speed of their rattles to appear closer than they are

Head scientist at the Smithsonian Marine Station, Valerie Paul, collects blue-green algae samples to study the chemicals they emit. Those chemicals can endanger coral reefs, but also have biomedical potential.

Smithsonian Voices

How Algae Communicate

Smithsonian scientist Valerie Paul studies the ways marine biochemicals can potentially help restore coral reefs and create new biomedicine

An engineer demonstrates a car phone five months before the historic first call on a competing company’s commercial mobile telephone service in 1946.

The First Mobile Phone Call Was Made 75 Years Ago

The evolution of the cell phone illustrates what it takes for technologies to go from breakthrough to big time

In work and in personal life, virtual communication kept us in touch during Covid — but oh, those endless Zoom meets! There’s psychological and sensory science behind why they wear us down, and much promise to be realized once we iron out the wrinkles.

How the Pandemic Has Revealed the Promise and Perils of Life Lived Online

For good and for bad, Covid has propelled us even faster into immersive communication technologies

Ocean creatures are noisier than scientists first thought.

Women Who Shaped History

Biologist Marie Fish Catalogued the Sounds of the Ocean for the World to Hear

Scientists once thought marine life kept quiet. Then the Navy tapped an aptly named researcher with an open mind

Father Coughlin's bully pulpit.

When Radio Stations Stopped a Public Figure From Spreading Dangerous Lies

When radio was king, many outlets chose to cease broadcasting Father Charles Coughlin's anti-Semitic sermons

Two sequential photos showing a kangaroo alternating its gaze between a box full of food it can't open and a human.

New Research

Kangaroos Communicate With Humans Like Dogs in Experiments

The study suggests people may have previously underestimated the communication abilities of other non-domesticated species

Empathy goes further than shame when it comes to convincing people to change their behavior, according to public health experts.

Why 'Pandemic Shaming' Is Bad for Public Health

Empathy may go further than annoyance when encouraging people to change their risky behavior

The so-called "Letter From Heaven" was marketed as a message from Jesus himself, conveying instructions and conferring protection on those who sent them to others.

Before Chain Letters Swept the Internet, They Raised Funds for Orphans and Sent Messages From God

Recipe exchanges, poetry chains, photo challenges and other ostensibly comforting prompts are enjoying a resurgence amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is among the organizations that oppose the ruling.

Judge Rules Salvage Firm Can Recover the Titanic's Marconi Telegraph

Critics of the decision argue that the wreck is a memorial to the 1,500 who died when the ship sank and should not be disturbed

A rendering of the upcoming Planet Word museum's Great Hall, which will feature an LED globe showcasing dozens of languages from around the world

Upcoming Planet Word Museum Celebrates Language—and Is Slated to Be Talk of the Town

The Washington, D.C.-based museum will open its doors on May 31

It's hard enough to talk about our feelings. Now, try doing it across languages.

The Meanings Behind Words for Emotions Aren't Universal, Study Finds

Certain emotions may be universal. But the way humans describe their feelings, it seems, is not

The technology involves a system of sensors that detect the minuscule neuromuscular signals sent by the brain to the vocal cords and muscles of the throat and tongue.

This Device Can Hear You Talking to Yourself

AlterEgo could help people with communication or memory problems by broadcasting internal monologues

Members of the control group showed none of the behavioral and physiological changes seen among the experimental clutches

New Research

Unhatched Bird Embryos Communicate With Siblings by Vibrating Their Shells

Baby seabirds exposed to nestmates' warnings exhibit behavioral and physiological adaptations designed to help avoid predators

There’s still plenty of reason to know how to use this Morse telegraph key.

Morse Code Celebrates 175 Years and Counting

The elegantly simple code works whether flashing a spotlight or blinking your eyes—or even tapping on a smartphone touchscreen

DeepASL's camera

Sign Language Translating Devices Are Cool. But Are They Useful?

Michigan State University researchers are developing a small tool, with a motion capture system, that translates ASL into English

New Research

Scientists Use AI to Decode the Ultrasonic Language of Rodents

The DeepSqueak software translates the high-pitched communication into sonograms, which can be analyzed to determine what mice and rats are saying

New Research

A City Frog's Love Song Attracts More Mates Than Countryside Croaks

Fewer predators and heightened competition for mates allowed urban tungara frogs to add more notes and frills to their calls, with big results Read more: h

How Wireless Water-to-Air Communication Could Revolutionize Marine Research

Solving a longstanding puzzle, MIT researchers have developed a way of sending signals from underwater to airborne devices