Understanding how the brain processes vocal communication sounds remains one of the most challenging problems in neuroscience. Species-specific vocalizations of nonhuman primates are communication sounds used in intraspecies interactions, analogous to speech in humans. Primate vocalizations are of special interest to us because, compared with other animal species, primates share the most similarities with humans in the anatomical structures of their central nervous systems, including the cerebral cortex. Therefore, neural mechanisms underlying perception and production of speciesspecific primate vocalizations may have direct implications for those operating in the human brain for speech processing. Although field studies provide full access to the natural behavior of primates, it is difficult to combine them with physiological studies at the single neuron level in the same animals. The challenge is to develop appropriate primate models for laboratory studies where both vocal behavior and underlying physiological structures and mechanisms can be systematically investigated. This is a crucial step in understanding how the brain processes vocal communication sounds at the cellular and systems levels. Most primates have a well-developed and sophisticated vocal repertoire in their natural habitats; however, for many primate species such as macaque monkeys, vocal activities largely diminish under the captive conditions commonly found in research institutions, due in part to the lack of proper social housing environments. Fortunately, some primate species such as New World monkeys (e.g., marmosets, squirrel monkeys) remain highly vocal in properly configured captive conditions. These primate species can serve as excellent models to study neural mechanisms responsible for processing species-specific vocalizations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Primate Audition|
|Subtitle of host publication||Ethology and Neurobiology|
|Number of pages||21|
|ISBN (Print)||0849309565, 9780849309564|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2002|
ASJC Scopus subject areas