Birds and babies : a comparison of the early development in vocal learners

Leiden Repository

Birds and babies : a comparison of the early development in vocal learners

Title: Birds and babies : a comparison of the early development in vocal learners
Author: Haar, Sita Minke ter
Publisher: Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL), Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL), Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), Faculty of Science, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2013-06-05
Keywords: Birdsong
Language acquisition
Infant
Development
Experience
Predisposition
Markedness
Phonology
Perpetual bias
Behaviour
Abstract: This thesis provides a comparison of mostly perceptual development during vocal learning in songbirds (zebra finches) and human infants. The aim is to disentangle experience dependent and independent processes during vocal learning. In both human infants and juvenile songbirds, a perceptual preference for ‘universal’ sounds was found, independent of adult auditory input. Later in development, both infants and juvenile songbirds show a change is preference. The juvenile songbirds clearly change their preference towards sounds they have been auditorily exposed to (chapter 3). In human infants in the influence of experience is less clear in this thesis. In combination with previous literature the most likely scenario is a combination of experience dependent and independent processes (chapter 2). To further compare human and birdsong phonology, a ‘typology’ of zebra finch song elements was performed (chapter 4). The results of this study indicate commonality as well as variation between populations in terms of phonology. In the order of elements within a sequence however, there is little evidence for common patterns across populations and there is variation within and between populations. In summary, this thesis shows similarities in developmental mechanisms in two vocally learning species. There might be a link between development and typology.
Description: Promotor: C.J. ten Cate, Co-Promotor: C.C. Levelt
With Summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Citation: Haar, S.M. ter, 2013, Doctoral Thesis, Leiden University
ISBN: 9789088916397
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/20932
 

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