Human listeners attend to size information in domestic dog growls

Taylor, Anna, Reby, David and McComb, Karen (2008) Human listeners attend to size information in domestic dog growls. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123 (5). pp. 2903-2909. ISSN 0001-4966

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The acoustic features of vocalizations have the potential to transmit information about the size of callers. Most acoustic studies have focused on intraspecic perceptual abilities, but here, the ability of humans to use growls to assess the size of adult domestic dogs was tested. In a rst experiment, the formants of growls were shifted to create playback stimuli with different formant dispersions Df, simulating different vocal tract lengths within the natural range of variation. Mean fundamental frequency F0 was left unchanged and treated as a covariate. In a second experiment, F0 was resynthesized and Df was left unchanged. In both experiments Df and F0 inuenced how participants rated the size of stimuli. Lower formant and fundamental frequencies were rated as belonging to larger dogs. Crucially, when F0 was manipulated and Df was natural, ratings were strongly correlated with the actual weight of the dogs, while when Df was varied and F0 was natural, ratings were not related to the actual weight. Taken together, this suggests that participants relied more heavily on Df , in accordance with the fact that formants are better predictors of body size than F0.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Anna Taylor
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:34
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2012 10:24
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