Humans Discriminate Individual Zebra Finches by their Song
Keywords:individual discrimination, zebra finch, pitch contour, human perception
AbstractComparative experiments have greatly advanced the field of biolinguistics in the 21st century, but so far very little research has focused on human perception of non-human animal vocalizations. Studies with zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) songs found that humans cannot perceive the full range of acoustic cues that zebra finches hear in their songs, although it remained unclear how much individual information is lost. Individual heterospecific discrimination by humans has only been shown with rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) voices. The present study examined whether human adults could discriminate two individual zebra finches by their songs, using a forced- choice Same-Different Paradigm. Results showed that adults can discriminate two individual zebra finches with high accuracy and without prior training. Discrimination mostly relied on differences in pitch contour, but discrimination was still possible with lower accuracy when pitch contour was removed. Future studies should expand these findings with more diverse non-human animal vocalizations.
Copyright (c) 2020 Sabrina Schalz, Thomas E. Dickins
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors who submit to and publish with BIOLINGUISTICS agree to the following terms:
- The author(s) retain(s) copyright and grant(s) the journal the right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons CC-BY License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in BIOLINGUISTICS.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., archiving a format-free manuscript in institutional repositories, on their personal website, or a preprint server such as LingBuzz, PsyArXiv, or similar) prior to and during the submission process, because we believe that this behaviour can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (see The Effect of Open Access).