Speech across species : on the mechanistic fundamentals of vocal production and perception

Leiden Repository

Speech across species : on the mechanistic fundamentals of vocal production and perception

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Speech across species : on the mechanistic fundamentals of vocal production and perception
Author: Ohms, Verena Regina
Publisher: Department of Behavioural Sciences, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Science, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2011-05-03
Keywords: Acoustic cue weighting
Birdsong
Evolution of speech
Formants
Speaker normalization
Vocal articulation
Vocal perception
Zebra finch
Abstract: Birdsong and human speech are both complex behaviours which show striking similarities mainly thought to be present in the area of development and learning. The most important parameters in human speech are vocal tract resonances, called formants. Different formant patterns characterize different vowels and are produced by moving articulators such as tongue and lips. However, not much is known about the production and perception of vocal tract resonances by birds. In this thesis I show that both songbirds and parrots use different articulators, comparable to humans, to modify the sound produced. While in songbirds beak gape and the expansion of the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity are the most important articulators, parrots exhibit prominent tongue movements which also might explain their sophisticated ability to mimic human speech. Regarding formant perception I show that zebra finches can discriminate human words differing only in their vowels and categorize these words independent of speaker identity. To do so the birds employ, just like humans, a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic speaker normalization. Furthermore, when tested for a cue weighting bias both zebra finches and Dutch adults weight higher frequencies stronger. These results indicate that the mechanisms underlying vocal production and perception in birds and humans exhibit more similarities than realized before and studying birdsong will increase our knowledge about the emergence of these mechanisms and might even shed light on the evolution of human speech.
Description: Promotor: Carel J. ten Cate, Co-promotor: Gabriël J.L. Beckers
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Citation: Ohms, V.R., 2011, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
ISBN: 9789490858063
Sponsor: NWO
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/17608
 

Files in this item

Description Size View
application/pdf Full text 5.827Mb View/Open
application/pdf Cover 549.2Kb View/Open
application/pdf Title page_Contents 208.0Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 1 Introduction 809.4Kb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 2 2.427Mb View/Open Full text at publisher site
application/pdf Chapter 3 1.215Mb View/Open
application/pdf Chapter 4 1.339Mb View/Open Full text at publisher site
application/pdf Chapter 5 1.032Mb View/Open
application/pdf References 259.8Kb View/Open
application/pdf Summary in Dutch 238.0Kb View/Open
application/pdf Acknowledgements 78.59Kb View/Open
application/pdf Curriculum Vita ... contributions_Publications 221.0Kb View/Open
application/pdf Propositions 72.92Kb View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)