Mechanisms of acoustic perception in the cotton-top tamarin

Cory T. Miller, Daniel J. Weiss, Marc D. Hauser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Communication involves transmitting a signal encoded with information that can be interpreted by a receiver and used to mediate behavioral responses and decisions. In order for communication to function properly, some level of co-evolution between signal producer and receiver must have occurred; otherwise, signals would either be ignored or misinterpreted. Although this relationship is evident in every communication system, specialized systems offer a unique opportunity to observe how the specific features of a system interact to facilitate communication. For example, in vocal communication systems, individuals communicate by emitting vocalizations that are then interpreted by the auditory system of conspecifics. The information content and structure of the signals are manifested in a suite of acoustic variables that conform to species-typical boundaries. In a specialized system, particular acoustic features are encoded in the vocal signal and transmitted to the receiver who, in turn, has evolved a perceptual system to interpret particular features of the signal. Subtle differences in acoustic structure can be interpreted to indicate vastly different pieces of information. To decipher these signals, researchers must understand the interaction between acoustic features within the call and the behaviors that are elicited by such features. Specialized systems of vocal communication offer us an important opportunity to investigate this relationship most effectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrimate Audition
Subtitle of host publicationEthology and Neurobiology
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781420041224
ISBN (Print)0849309565, 9780849309564
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Medicine


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