Vocal tract constancy in birds and humans

Pike, C. D. and Kriengwatana, B. P. (2019) Vocal tract constancy in birds and humans. Behavioural Processes, 163, pp. 99-112. (doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2018.08.001) (PMID:30145277)

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Humans perceive speech as being relatively stable despite acoustic variation caused by vocal tract (VT) differences between speakers. Humans use perceptual ‘vocal tract normalisation’ (VTN) and other processes to achieve this stability. Similarity in vocal apparatus/acoustics between birds and humans means that birds might also experience VT variation. This has the potential to impede bird communication. No known studies have explicitly examined this, but a number of studies show perceptual stability or ‘perceptual constancy’ in birds similar to that seen in humans when dealing with VT variation. This review explores similarities between birds and humans and concludes that birds show sufficient evidence of perceptual constancy to warrant further research in this area. Future work should 1) quantify the multiple sources of variation in bird vocalisations, including, but not limited to VT variations, 2) determine whether vocalisations are perniciously disrupted by any of these and 3) investigate how birds reduce variation to maintain perceptual constancy and perceptual efficiency.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Cleopatra Pike was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grant BB/N010108/1. Pralle Kriengwatana was funded by BBSRC Grant BB/L002264/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kriengwatana, Dr Pralle
Authors: Pike, C. D., and Kriengwatana, B. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Behavioural Processes
ISSN (Online):1872-8308
Published Online:23 August 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Behavioural Processes 163: 99-112
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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