Antiphonal call timing in marmosets is behaviorally significant: Interactive playback experiments

Cory T. Miller, Kaylin Beck, Brooke Meade, Xiaoqin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of primate vocal communication systems have generally focused on vocalizations and the information they convey to conspecifics. But the vocalizations are not the only sources of information. Aspects of each species vocal behaviors are likely to be communicatively rich as well. During vocal interactions, for example, the latency delay between the calls could communicate an important message to the signal receiver, such as an interest and willingness to socialize. Here we employed novel, interactive playback software to address this issue in the antiphonal calling behavior of common marmosets. In these experiments, we parametrically varied the latency delay of antiphonal call stimuli and measured its effects on subjects' resultant vocal behavior. Results showed that marmosets produced successively fewer antiphonal call responses during test conditions with increasing latency delays. Moreover, although subjects produced significantly more antiphonal than spontaneous calls in conditions with antiphonal call timing delays up to 9 s, a longer delay resulted in a significant decline in calling. These data suggest that antiphonal call timing is a salient cue for maintaining antiphonal calling interactions and may be used by marmosets to determine whether a subsequent call is produced in response to or independently of their own.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009


  • Antiphonal calling
  • Call timing
  • Common marmosets
  • Vocal behavior
  • Vocal interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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