Discrimination of steady-state vowels by blackbirds and pigeons

Robert D Hienz, M. B. Sachs, J. M. Sinnott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Redwing blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, and pigeons were trained with operant conditioning techniques to discriminate the steady-state vowels e, ae, a, and ⊃ from each other. A pulsed train of one of these vowels comprised the background stimulus. Birds were trained to peck on one response key to produce occasional alternations from this standard vowel to one of the three remaining comparison vowels, and to peck on a second response key during these alternations to produce a grain reward. All birds discriminated all combinations of vowel pairs employed when only one comparison vowel occurred during a session. Differences in discriminability emerged when three comparison vowels occurred within each session. For pigeons, increased discriminability (indicated by shorter response latencies and higher rates of correct detections) was directly related to the size of the first or second formant frequency shifts between standard and comparison vowels. For blackbirds, this was only true if the first or second formants shifted to higher frequencies when going from the standard to the comparison vowel. Comparison vowels producing downward formant shifts were not discriminated very easily, and in some cases not discriminated at all by blackbirds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume70
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1981

Fingerprint

pigeons
vowels
discrimination
birds
alternations
Discrimination
conditioning
stimuli
frequency shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Discrimination of steady-state vowels by blackbirds and pigeons. / Hienz, Robert D; Sachs, M. B.; Sinnott, J. M.

In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 70, No. 3, 1981, p. 699-706.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1260d864085345b6af654e804fcf1b49,
title = "Discrimination of steady-state vowels by blackbirds and pigeons",
abstract = "Redwing blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, and pigeons were trained with operant conditioning techniques to discriminate the steady-state vowels e, ae, a, and ⊃ from each other. A pulsed train of one of these vowels comprised the background stimulus. Birds were trained to peck on one response key to produce occasional alternations from this standard vowel to one of the three remaining comparison vowels, and to peck on a second response key during these alternations to produce a grain reward. All birds discriminated all combinations of vowel pairs employed when only one comparison vowel occurred during a session. Differences in discriminability emerged when three comparison vowels occurred within each session. For pigeons, increased discriminability (indicated by shorter response latencies and higher rates of correct detections) was directly related to the size of the first or second formant frequency shifts between standard and comparison vowels. For blackbirds, this was only true if the first or second formants shifted to higher frequencies when going from the standard to the comparison vowel. Comparison vowels producing downward formant shifts were not discriminated very easily, and in some cases not discriminated at all by blackbirds.",
author = "Hienz, {Robert D} and Sachs, {M. B.} and Sinnott, {J. M.}",
year = "1981",
doi = "10.1121/1.386933",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "70",
pages = "699--706",
journal = "Journal of the Acoustical Society of America",
issn = "0001-4966",
publisher = "Acoustical Society of America",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Discrimination of steady-state vowels by blackbirds and pigeons

AU - Hienz, Robert D

AU - Sachs, M. B.

AU - Sinnott, J. M.

PY - 1981

Y1 - 1981

N2 - Redwing blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, and pigeons were trained with operant conditioning techniques to discriminate the steady-state vowels e, ae, a, and ⊃ from each other. A pulsed train of one of these vowels comprised the background stimulus. Birds were trained to peck on one response key to produce occasional alternations from this standard vowel to one of the three remaining comparison vowels, and to peck on a second response key during these alternations to produce a grain reward. All birds discriminated all combinations of vowel pairs employed when only one comparison vowel occurred during a session. Differences in discriminability emerged when three comparison vowels occurred within each session. For pigeons, increased discriminability (indicated by shorter response latencies and higher rates of correct detections) was directly related to the size of the first or second formant frequency shifts between standard and comparison vowels. For blackbirds, this was only true if the first or second formants shifted to higher frequencies when going from the standard to the comparison vowel. Comparison vowels producing downward formant shifts were not discriminated very easily, and in some cases not discriminated at all by blackbirds.

AB - Redwing blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, and pigeons were trained with operant conditioning techniques to discriminate the steady-state vowels e, ae, a, and ⊃ from each other. A pulsed train of one of these vowels comprised the background stimulus. Birds were trained to peck on one response key to produce occasional alternations from this standard vowel to one of the three remaining comparison vowels, and to peck on a second response key during these alternations to produce a grain reward. All birds discriminated all combinations of vowel pairs employed when only one comparison vowel occurred during a session. Differences in discriminability emerged when three comparison vowels occurred within each session. For pigeons, increased discriminability (indicated by shorter response latencies and higher rates of correct detections) was directly related to the size of the first or second formant frequency shifts between standard and comparison vowels. For blackbirds, this was only true if the first or second formants shifted to higher frequencies when going from the standard to the comparison vowel. Comparison vowels producing downward formant shifts were not discriminated very easily, and in some cases not discriminated at all by blackbirds.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0019779705&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0019779705&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1121/1.386933

DO - 10.1121/1.386933

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0019779705

VL - 70

SP - 699

EP - 706

JO - Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

JF - Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

SN - 0001-4966

IS - 3

ER -