Generalizing prosodic patterns by a non-vocal learning mammal

  • Authors
  • Toro, JM; Hoeschele M
  • UPF authors
  • TORO SOTO, JUAN MANUEL;
  • Type
  • Scholarly articles
  • Journal títle
  • Animal Cognition
  • Publication year
  • 2017
  • Volume
  • 20
  • Number
  • 2
  • Pages
  • 179-185
  • ISSN
  • 1435-9456
  • Publication State
  • Published
  • Abstract
  • Prosody, a salient aspect of speech that includes rhythm and intonation, has been shown to help infants acquire some aspects of syntax. Recent studies have shown that birds of two vocal learning species are able to categorize human speech stimuli based on prosody. In the current study, we found that the non-vocal learning rat could also discriminate human speech stimuli based on prosody. Not only that, but rats were able to generalize to novel stimuli they had not been trained with, which suggests that they had not simply memorized the properties of individual stimuli, but learned a prosodic rule. When tested with stimuli with either one or three out of the four prosodic cues removed, the rats did poorly, suggesting that all cues were necessary for the rats to solve the task. This result is in contrast to results with humans and budgerigars, both of which had previously been studied using the same paradigm. Humans and budgerigars both learned the task and generalized to novel items, but were also able to solve the task with some of the cues removed. In conclusion, rats appear to have some of the perceptual abilities necessary to generalize prosodic patterns, in a similar though not identical way to the vocal learning species that have been studied.
  • Complete citation
  • Toro, JM; Hoeschele M. Generalizing prosodic patterns by a non-vocal learning mammal. Animal Cognition 2017; 20(2): 179-185.
Bibliometric indicators
  • 6 times cited Scopus
  • 7 times cited WOS
  • Índex Scimago de 1.389(2017)