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Michael Short Ling hw week 9

Michael Short Ling hw week 9 - Score out of 9(= 18 points 2...

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Score: _____ out of 9 (= 18 points ÷ 2) LINGUISTICS 1: ASSIGNMENT 8 Name: Michael Short TA: Ward Section: 1B 1. (6 points) Pinker (page 342) lays out three basic “designs” in non-human comunication systems: finite repertory of unitary calls, analog signal indicating factors of intensity, and random variation of the signaling capability of the species. Marc Hauser ( The Evolution of Communication , MIT Press, 1996) discusses in detail a large number of other aspects of design in animal communication systems. Here are a couple of examples that focus particularly on perception of communication: (1) One theory of perception of communication is the motor theory , which claims that perception of a communicative sound is that the hearer is translating the sound into the vocal gestures that would PRODUCE the sound. Hauser (pp. 148-150) discusses a number of studies of finches and sparrows where the firing rates of cells in the birds’ vocal organs have been measured as the birds heard recordings of songs from their respective species. Hauser notes, “Most impressively, cells that are highly responsive to the bird’s own song are less responsive to the same song played backward. This is a striking finding because it demonstrates that cell specificity is not based on overall spectral [= pitch, speed, intensity] properties of the song, but rather on the temporal sequence of spectral events (syllables). … Furthermore, the specificity shows that there are fundamental units within the song and that these must be produced in a particular sequence in order for the song to be recognized… .” (2) Hauser says (p. 114), “… most anuran [frogs and toads] vocalizations are structurally quite simple and stereotyped. By far the most conspicuous auditory signal in the repertoire is the advertisement call, used by males to both attract potential mates and to notify other male competitors.” He describes sex differences in the neural basis of perception for the Neotropical tree frog (
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