Sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons and their perceptual discrimination by baboon listeners

Drew Rendall, Michael J. Owren, Elise Weerts, Robert D Hienz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study quantifies sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons (Papio spp.) and tests the basic perceptual discriminability of these differences to baboon listeners. Acoustic analyses were performed on 1028 grunts recorded from 27 adult baboons (11 males and 16 females) in southern Africa, focusing specifically on the fundamental frequency (F0) and formant frequencies. The mean F0 and the mean frequencies of the first three formants were all significantly lower in males than they were in females, more dramatically so for F0. Experiments using standard psychophysical procedures subsequently tested the discriminability of adult male and adult female grunts. After learning to discriminate the grunt of one male from that of one female, five baboon subjects subsequently generalized this discrimination both to new call tokens from the same individuals and to grunts from novel males and females. These results are discussed in the context of both the possible vocal anatomical basis for sex differences in call structure and the potential perceptual mechanisms involved in their processing by listeners, particularly as these relate to analogous issues in human speech production and perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume115
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

Fingerprint

baboons
vowels
discrimination
acoustics
learning
Acoustics
Perceptual Discrimination
Sex Differences
Vocalization
Listeners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Cite this

@article{1ef2a9a009964271b714304c966cdb96,
title = "Sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons and their perceptual discrimination by baboon listeners",
abstract = "This study quantifies sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons (Papio spp.) and tests the basic perceptual discriminability of these differences to baboon listeners. Acoustic analyses were performed on 1028 grunts recorded from 27 adult baboons (11 males and 16 females) in southern Africa, focusing specifically on the fundamental frequency (F0) and formant frequencies. The mean F0 and the mean frequencies of the first three formants were all significantly lower in males than they were in females, more dramatically so for F0. Experiments using standard psychophysical procedures subsequently tested the discriminability of adult male and adult female grunts. After learning to discriminate the grunt of one male from that of one female, five baboon subjects subsequently generalized this discrimination both to new call tokens from the same individuals and to grunts from novel males and females. These results are discussed in the context of both the possible vocal anatomical basis for sex differences in call structure and the potential perceptual mechanisms involved in their processing by listeners, particularly as these relate to analogous issues in human speech production and perception.",
author = "Drew Rendall and Owren, {Michael J.} and Elise Weerts and Hienz, {Robert D}",
year = "2004",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1121/1.1635838",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "115",
pages = "411--421",
journal = "Journal of the Acoustical Society of America",
issn = "0001-4966",
publisher = "Acoustical Society of America",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons and their perceptual discrimination by baboon listeners

AU - Rendall, Drew

AU - Owren, Michael J.

AU - Weerts, Elise

AU - Hienz, Robert D

PY - 2004/1

Y1 - 2004/1

N2 - This study quantifies sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons (Papio spp.) and tests the basic perceptual discriminability of these differences to baboon listeners. Acoustic analyses were performed on 1028 grunts recorded from 27 adult baboons (11 males and 16 females) in southern Africa, focusing specifically on the fundamental frequency (F0) and formant frequencies. The mean F0 and the mean frequencies of the first three formants were all significantly lower in males than they were in females, more dramatically so for F0. Experiments using standard psychophysical procedures subsequently tested the discriminability of adult male and adult female grunts. After learning to discriminate the grunt of one male from that of one female, five baboon subjects subsequently generalized this discrimination both to new call tokens from the same individuals and to grunts from novel males and females. These results are discussed in the context of both the possible vocal anatomical basis for sex differences in call structure and the potential perceptual mechanisms involved in their processing by listeners, particularly as these relate to analogous issues in human speech production and perception.

AB - This study quantifies sex differences in the acoustic structure of vowel-like grunt vocalizations in baboons (Papio spp.) and tests the basic perceptual discriminability of these differences to baboon listeners. Acoustic analyses were performed on 1028 grunts recorded from 27 adult baboons (11 males and 16 females) in southern Africa, focusing specifically on the fundamental frequency (F0) and formant frequencies. The mean F0 and the mean frequencies of the first three formants were all significantly lower in males than they were in females, more dramatically so for F0. Experiments using standard psychophysical procedures subsequently tested the discriminability of adult male and adult female grunts. After learning to discriminate the grunt of one male from that of one female, five baboon subjects subsequently generalized this discrimination both to new call tokens from the same individuals and to grunts from novel males and females. These results are discussed in the context of both the possible vocal anatomical basis for sex differences in call structure and the potential perceptual mechanisms involved in their processing by listeners, particularly as these relate to analogous issues in human speech production and perception.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=1642499122&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=1642499122&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1121/1.1635838

DO - 10.1121/1.1635838

M3 - Article

VL - 115

SP - 411

EP - 421

JO - Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

JF - Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

SN - 0001-4966

IS - 1

ER -