The production and perception of long calls by cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus): Acoustic analyses and playback experiments

Daniel J. Weiss, Brian T. Garibaldi, Marc D. Hauser

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88 Scopus citations


The authors' goal was to provide a better understanding of the relationship between vocal production and perception in nonhuman primate communication. To this end, the authors examined the cotton-top tamarin's (Saguinus oedipus) combination long call (CLC). In Part 1 of this study, the authors carried out a series of acoustic analyses designed to determine the kind of information potentially encoded in the tamarin's CLC. Using factorial analyses of variance and multiple discriminant analyses, the authors explored whether the CLC encodes 3 types of identity information: individual, sex, and social group. Results revealed that exemplars could be reliably assigned to these 3 functional classes on the basis of a suite of spectrotemporal features. In Part 2 of this study, the authors used a series of habituation-dishabituation playback experiments to test whether tamarins attend to the encoded information about individual identity. The authors 1st tested for individual discrimination when tamarins were habituated to a series of calls from 1 tamarin and then played back a test call from a novel tamarin; both opposite-and same-sex pairings were tested. Results showed that tamarins dishabituated when caller identity changed but transferred habituation when caller identity was held constant and a new exemplar was played (control condition). Follow-up playback experiments revealed an asymmetry between the authors' acoustic analyses of individual identity and the tamarins' capacity to discriminate among vocal signatures; whereas all colony members have distinctive vocal signatures, we found that not all tamarins were equally discriminable based on the habituation-dishabituation paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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