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  Subjects -> ANIMAL WELFARE (Total: 103 journals)
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Animal Cognition
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.389
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 20  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1435-9456 - ISSN (Online) 1435-9448
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2467 journals]
  • Frog embryos use multiple levels of temporal pattern in risk assessment
           for vibration-cued escape hatching

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      Abstract: Abstract Stereotyped signals can be a fast, effective means of communicating danger, but animals assessing predation risk must often use more variable incidental cues. Red eyed-treefrog, Agalychnis callidryas, embryos hatch prematurely to escape from egg predators, cued by vibrations in attacks, but benign rain generates vibrations with overlapping properties. Facing high false-alarm costs, embryos use multiple vibration properties to inform hatching, including temporal pattern elements such as pulse durations and inter-pulse intervals. However, measures of snake and rain vibration as simple pulse-interval patterns are a poor match to embryo behavior. We used vibration playbacks to assess if embryos use a second level of temporal pattern, long gaps within a rhythmic pattern, as indicators of risks. Long vibration-free periods are common during snake attacks but absent from hard rain. Long gaps after a few initial vibrations increase the hatching response to a subsequent vibration series. Moreover, vibration patterns as short as three pulses, separated by long periods of silence, can induce as much hatching as rhythmic pulse series with five times more vibration. Embryos can retain information that increases hatching over at least 45 s of silence. This work highlights that embryo behavior is contextually modulated in complex ways. Identical vibration pulses, pulse groups, and periods of silence can be treated as risk cues in some contexts and not in others. Embryos employ a multi-faceted decision-making process to effectively distinguish between risk cues and benign stimuli.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Multisensory mental representation of objects in typical and Gifted Word
           Learner dogs

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      Abstract: Abstract Little research has been conducted on dogs’ (Canis familiaris) ability to integrate information obtained through different sensory modalities during object discrimination and recognition tasks. Such a process would indicate the formation of multisensory mental representations. In Experiment 1, we tested the ability of 3 Gifted Word Learner (GWL) dogs that can rapidly learn the verbal labels of toys, and 10 Typical (T) dogs to discriminate an object recently associated with a reward, from distractor objects, under light and dark conditions. While the success rate did not differ between the two groups and conditions, a detailed behavioral analysis showed that all dogs searched for longer and sniffed more in the dark. This suggests that, when possible, dogs relied mostly on vision, and switched to using only other sensory modalities, including olfaction, when searching in the dark. In Experiment 2, we investigated whether, for the GWL dogs (N = 4), hearing the object verbal labels activates a memory of a multisensory mental representation. We did so by testing their ability to recognize objects based on their names under dark and light conditions. Their success rate did not differ between the two conditions, whereas the dogs’ search behavior did, indicating a flexible use of different sensory modalities. Little is known about the cognitive mechanisms involved in the ability of GWL dogs to recognize labeled objects. These findings supply the first evidence that for GWL dogs, verbal labels evoke a multisensory mental representation of the objects.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Individual differences in co-representation in three monkey species
           (Callithrix jacchus, Sapajus apella and Macaca tonkeana) in the joint
           Simon task: the role of social factors and inhibitory control

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      Abstract: Abstract Behavioral coordination is involved in many forms of primate interactions. Co-representation is the simultaneous mental representation of one’s own and the partner’s task and actions. It often underlies behavioral coordination and cooperation success. In humans, the dyadic social context can modulate co-representation. Here, we first investigated whether individual differences in co-representation in the joint Simon task in capuchin monkeys and Tonkean macaques can be explained by social factors, namely dyadic grooming and sociality index, rank difference and eigenvector centrality. These factors did not predict variation in co-representation. However, in this specific task, co-representation reduces rather than facilitates joint performance. Automatic co-representation therefore needs to be inhibited or suppressed to maximize cooperation success. We therefore also investigated whether general inhibitory control (detour-reaching) would predict co-representation in the joint Simon task in Tonkean macaques, brown capuchin and marmoset monkeys. Inhibitory control did neither explain individual differences nor species differences, since marmosets were most successful in their joint performance despite scoring lowest on inhibitory control. These results suggest that the animals’ ability to resolve conflicts between self and other representation to increase cooperation success in this task is gradually learned due to frequent exposure during shared infant care, rather than determined by strong general inhibitory control. Further, we conclude that the joint Simon task, while useful to detect co-representation non-invasively, is less suitable for identifying the factors explaining individual differences and thus a more fruitful approach to identify these factors is to design tasks in which co-representation favors, rather than hinders cooperation success.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • House sparrows use learned information selectively based on whether reward
           is hidden or visible

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      Abstract: Abstract Based on past experience, food-related-cues can help foragers to predict the presence and the expected quality of food. However, when the food is already visible there is no need to predict its presence or its other visible attributes, but only those that are still cryptic, such as expected handling time or taste. Optimal foragers should therefore use only knowledge that is relevant to the current setting. Nevertheless, the extent to which they do so is not clear. In a set of experiments, we examined how a change in setting, from hidden to visible reward, affects the reliance of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) on three previously learned attributes of food-related cues (sand colors): the setting of the cue (e.g., whether the food was hidden or exposed), the expected amount of the reward (number of seeds), and the expected handling time. We found that sparrows used all three attributes when the rewards were hidden but reached decisions mainly based on handling time when the rewards were visible. This selective use of cue-related information suggests that animals do not simply associate cues with their average expected value but rather learn different attributes of a cue and use all, or only some of them, in a context-appropriate manner.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Context-dependent and seasonal fluctuation in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops
           truncatus) vocalizations

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      Abstract: Abstract A fundamental question in animal behaviour is the role of vocal communication in the regulation of social interactions in species that organise themselves into social groups. Context dependence and seasonality in vocalizations are present in the communication of many species, although very little research has addressed this dependence in marine mammals. The study presented here examined variations in the rate at which free-ranging dyads of bottlenose dolphins emit social-signals in an effort to better understand the relationship between vocal communication and social context. The results demonstrate that changes in the social-signal production in bottlenose dolphins are related to the sex of the partner, mating season and social affiliation between the components of the dyad. In a context of foraging behaviour on the same feeding ground, mixed (male–female) dyads were found to emit more pulsed burst sounds during the mating season. Another relevant aspect of the study seems to be the greater production of agonistic social-signals in the dyads formed by individuals with a lower degree of social affiliation. Overall, this study confirms a clear relationship between dyad composition and context-specific social-signals that could reflect the motivational state of individuals linked to seasonal changes in vocal behaviour.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Why wait to mark' Possible reasons behind latency from olfactory
           exploration to overmarking in four African equid species

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      Abstract: Abstract Whereas most studies on overmarking in mammals analysed the rate of overmarking, that those investigate time between exploration of an olfactory stimulus and the response to it remain less common, with inconsistent results. We examined the latency in time between elimination by the sender and sniffing by the receiver, and from sniffing and overmarking, in four captive African equid species to explore differences among species, and among age and sex classes. We investigated these latency time periods in light of three potential hypotheses explaining overmarking behaviour in equids: social bonds, group cohesion, and intrasexual competition. Analysing 1684 events of sniffing and 719 of overmarking among 130 individuals, we found that (i) the time from elimination to overmarking was shorter among female friends and in parent–offspring dyads, proving support to the social bond hypothesis; (ii) intraspecific differences in time periods do not reflect the social organisation of species, thus not supporting the group cohesion hypothesis; (iii) males were more attracted to elimination of conspecifics than females, and female’s eliminations were inspected longer, in line with the sexual competition hypothesis and/or reproductive behaviour. In addition, we found that the younger foals came to sniff eliminations faster than older ones, and in larger groups foals devoted longer time to sniffing the elimination before overmarking. We concluded that examination of the elimination could be driven by motivations other than the decision to overmark. Whereas overmarking serves to express bonds to a familiar individual, the latency of overmarking reflects more reproductive interests.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Comments on “Intra- and interspecific variation in self-control
           capacities of parrots in a delay of gratification task”

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      Abstract: Abstract Brucks (Anim Cogn 25(2):473–491, 2021) have published an intriguing paper on the differing abilities of various species of parrots to succeed in a delay of gratification task. I find their interspecies comparisons of considerable interest but take exception to their misrepresentation of prior research on delayed gratification from our laboratory in Koepke (J Comp Psychol 129:339–346, 2015). Contrary to their claims, our subject was never trained on the task; rather, one might argue instead that all their subjects received considerable training or at least forms of pre-exposure that could affect their overall claims. I also briefly discuss other design features that may have affected their results.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Context specificity of latent inhibition in the snail Cornu aspersum

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      Abstract: Abstract The present study was conducted to assess the context specificity of latent inhibition (LI) in the snail Cornu aspersum, using the appetitive Pavlovian Conditioning procedure of tentacle lowering. Snails experienced an odorous conditioned stimulus (CS) without any consequence before being conditioned with food. The conditioned stimulus preexposure occurred in the same context than the conditioning and the test context or in the different context. The study was performed in two replicas in which the photoperiod was defined by level of illumination and time of day (circadian replica) or was defined only by light (light replica). Both replicas showed that the CS preexposure in the same context as conditioning produced a delay in the acquisition of the conditioned response (CR). However, when the CS preexposure took place in a different context than the conditioning context, an equivalent level of CR as that observed in controls without preexposition to CS was shown. These results are congruent with context specificity of LI and they provide the first evidence of this phenomenon in terrestrial mollusks. Learning processes and theories involved in this phenomenon are also debated in the paper.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Domestication effects on social information transfer in chickens

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      Abstract: Abstract Red junglefowl (RJF), ancestor of all domesticated chickens, is a highly social, omnivorous bird species, presumably with a capacity for social information sharing. During domestication, birds have been selected to live in large, dynamic groups, and this may have affected their social cognition. Here, we studied social information transfer in female RJF and domesticated White Leghorn (WL) chickens. Individuals were trained to open a puzzle-box feeder by pecking a lid and we then recorded the behaviour towards the same puzzle-box feeder for birds that had either observed the trained individual (“guided”) or saw the puzzle-box feeder for the first time (“naïve”). WL were considerably faster in approaching the feeder regardless of prior demonstration and pecked more at it. Both breeds were significantly faster to approach the puzzle-box feeder and pecked more after prior demonstration, but the effects were significantly stronger in WL. We conclude that both RJF and WL can utilize social information to address a novel problem, but during domestication this ability appears to have increased. The effects can be an effect of either social learning or stimulus enhancement. Some caution in this conclusion is necessary since we tested relatively few WL. Furthermore, possible confounding explanations include higher fearfulness in RJF and different effects of dominance interactions between demonstrators and observers.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Both sheep and goats can solve inferential by exclusion tasks

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      Abstract: Abstract Despite the domestication of sheep and goats by humans for several millennia, we still lack comparative data on their cognitive capacity. Comparing the cognitive skills of farm animals can help understand the evolution of cognition. In this study, we compared the performances of sheep and goats in inference by exclusion tasks. We implemented two tasks, namely a cup task and a tube task, to identify whether success in solving the task could be attributed to either low-level mechanisms (avoiding the empty location strategy) or to deductive reasoning (if two possibilities A and B, but not A, then it must be B). In contrast to a previous study comparing goats and sheep in a cup task, we showed that both species solved the inferential condition with high success rates. In the tube task, performances could not be explained by alternative strategies such as avoiding the empty tube or preferring the bent tube. When applying a strict set of criteria concerning responses in all conditions and controlling for the potential effects of experience, we demonstrate that two individuals, a goat and a sheep, fulfil these criteria. This suggests that sheep and goats are able to make inferences based on deductive reasoning.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Learning to anticipate mate presence shapes individual sex roles in the
           hermaphroditic pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis

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      Abstract: Abstract Despite being simultaneously male and female, hermaphrodites may still need to assume the male or female sexual role in a mating encounter, with the option to swap roles afterwards. For the great pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, deciding which sexual role to perform has important consequences, since sperm transfer and male reproductive success can be decreased. We hypothesised that detecting cues that indicate a possible mating encounter could help them to adapt their mating behaviour. Therefore, we experimentally assessed whether signalling the presence of a conspecific with an odour can affect the sexual role of Lymnaea stagnalis. The results showed that learning resulted in either an increased ability to mate as a male or in faster mating compared to the control group. These findings reveal that learning shapes the mating dynamics of Lymnaea stagnalis, thus showing that cognitive processes not only affect mating in separate-sexed species but also in hermaphrodites.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Azure-winged Magpies would rather avoid losses than strive for benefits
           based on reciprocal altruism

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      Abstract: Abstract It is no doubt that the reciprocal altruism of humans is unparalleled in the animal world. However, how strong altruistic behavior in the non-human animal is still very controversial. Almost all previous researches allowed only one individual in the dyad for action or dyad to accomplish tasks and obtain rewards simultaneously. Here, we designed current study based on the prisoner’s dilemma to investigate reciprocal altruism under interactions of Azure-winged Magpies (Cyanopica cyanus), which is direct reciprocity of allowing subjects obtain rewards, respectively. The results suggest that Azure-winged Magpies failed to show continuously altruistic behavior due to the empiricism that stemmed from interactions, that is, avoiding losses. Meanwhile, the resource exchange game paradigm, which is designed in our study, is worthwhile to study the evolution of cooperation in more species in the future.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Plasticity for the kin and conspecific preferences in the frog tadpoles
           (Rana ornativentris)

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      Abstract: Abstract In vertebrates, little is known of kin recognition systems and their plasticity. Even in well-studied anuran larvae (tadpoles), the determinants and effects of prior experience have not been clarified. This study evaluates the plasticity of kin and conspecific discrimination in tadpoles of the Japanese montane brown frog Rana ornativentris. We raised tadpoles under two different sibship conditions: the pure line, comprising only siblings, and the mixed line, comprising both siblings and non-siblings. The association preference by a subject tadpole to unfamiliar (“stimulus”) tadpoles was assessed through binary-choice tests using a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design among each kinship line (pure and mix), subject ontogeny/size (early stage/small and late-stage/large), and stimuli ontogeny/size. Contrary to our expectations, kin preference was confirmed only in early developmental small tadpoles from mixed line, and only with a small stimulus. Furthermore, tadpoles from mixed line did not exhibit size preference for unrelated conspecifics. These results suggest that different prior associations have modulated kin templates along tadpole ontogeny and that the presence of non-kin would enhance the learning of kin/non-kin. This study provides the first example that plasticity of kin recognition affects not only kin-biased association but also conspecific recognition along ontogeny in tadpoles.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Through the eyes of a hunter: assessing perception and exclusion
           performance in ground-hornbills

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      Abstract: Abstract Logical inference, once strictly associated with spoken language, is now reported in some non-human animals. One aspect of logical inference, reasoning by exclusion, has been traditionally explored through the use of the cups task (cup A and cup B, if not cup A, then exclude cup A and select cup B). However, to fully understand the factors that drove the evolution of logical processes in animals, this latter paradigm needs to cover a taxonomically broader spectrum of species. In this study, we aimed to test the capacity of Southern ground-hornbills (Bucorvus leadbeateri) to show exclusion performance in a two-way object-choice task. First, we determined whether subjects could perceive and choose correctly between two containers (one rewarded, one unrewarded) using visual or acoustic cues (sensory phase). If successful, individuals were then presented with three experimental conditions (test phase): Full information (content of both cups revealed), Exclusion (content of the empty cup revealed), and Control (no content revealed). During the sensory phase, ground-hornbills succeeded in choosing the rewarded container only in the visual modality. Birds were able to select the rewarded container more than would be expected by chance in the Full information condition, but their performances were equal to chance in the Control condition. The without-learning performance of two individuals within the Exclusion condition indicates that this task is not trivial, which invites further investigation on this species’ capacity to represent the dependent relationship between the cups (true logical inference).
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Assessing the performance of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) on
           the Mechner counting procedure

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      Abstract: Abstract This study assessed brushtail possums’ performance on the Mechner counting procedure. Six brushtail possums were required to produce different Fixed-Ratio (FR) response targets by lever pressing. Their responses provided access to food reinforcement delivered either upon completing the target FR response requirement on a single lever or, in different conditions, on completing the target FR before producing an additional response on a second lever. The mean number of responses on the first lever before switching to the second lever typically occurred just above the target FR response requirement (FR: 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64). The variability in the number of switches between the levers around the target FR decreased from the first 10 days to the last 10 days, indicating an improvement in counting accuracy over sessions. The time to switch between the first and second lever was consistently variable across response requirements suggesting that it is unlikely the possums were using time to predict when to switch levers. This research further supports the use of the Mechner procedure as a method for measuring counting ability in animals and confirms the possibility of numerical competence in a marsupial species.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Evidence of successive negative contrast in terrestrial toads (Rhinella
           arenarum): central or peripheral effect'

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      Abstract: Abstract Prior research with terrestrial toads (Rhinella arenarum) in a water-reinforced instrumental situation indicated a direct relationship between acquisition rate and reward magnitude. However, a reward downshift produced a gradual adjustment of instrumental performance and a rapid adjustment of consummatory performance, rather than the abrupt and transient deterioration of behavior typical of a successive negative contrast effect. In Experiment 1, using a two-chamber box, a downshift from deionized water (which supports maximal rehydration) to 250-mM sodium chloride solution (which supports a lower rehydration), also yielded a gradual adjustment of instrumental behavior. In this experiment, animals received one trial per day and were allowed 300 s of access to the reward in the goal box. Experiment 2 used the same procedure, except that animals were allowed access to the solution in the goal box for 600 s. Under these conditions, reward downshift led to longer latencies (instrumental) and lower rehydration levels (consummatory) than those of unshifted controls, providing evidence for successive negative contrast. Unlike in similar experiments with mammals, the effect was not transient, but persisted relatively unmodified over twelve daily postshift trials. In this case, the possibility of adaptation of the peripheral mechanisms for water uptake is considered. The comparative relevance of these results is discussed in terms of habit formation versus expectancy-guided behavior in vertebrate learning.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Behavioral evidence for two distinct memory systems in rats

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      Abstract: Abstract Serial reaction time tasks, in which subjects have to match a target to a cue, are used to explore whether non-human animals have multiple memory systems. Predictable sub-sequences embedded in the sequence of cues are responded to faster, demonstrating incidental learning, often considered implicit. Here, we used the serial implicit learning task (SILT) to determine whether rats’ memory shows similar effects. In SILT, subjects must nose-poke into a sequence of two lit apertures, S1 and S2. Some S1 are always followed by the same S2, creating predictable sequences (PS). Across groups, we varied the proportion of PS trials, from 10 to 80%, and show that rats with more PS experience do better on them than on unpredictable sequences, and better than rats with less experience. We then introduced test trials in which no S2 was cued. Rats with more PS experience did better on test trials. Finally, we reversed some sequences (from predictable to unpredictable and vice versa) and changed others. We find that rats with more PS experience perseverate on old (now incorrect) responses more than those with less PS experience. Overall, we find a discontinuity in performance as the proportion of PS increases, suggesting a switch in behavioral strategies or memory systems, which we confirm using a Process Dissociation Procedure analysis. Our data suggest that rats have at least two distinct memory systems, one of which appears to be analogous to human implicit memory and is differentially activated by varying the proportion of PS in our task.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • When should we ascribe sentience to animals' A commentary on “Hermit
           crabs, shells and sentience” (Elwood 2022)

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      Abstract: Abstract In a new review article, experiments on hermit crab behaviour are discussed in the context of possible animal sentience. Sentience can be defined as the ability to experience feelings such as pleasure or pain but there are also broader definitions that include elements of awareness. Here I suggest that of the different levels of awareness described as components of sentience, only the higher levels (assessment and executive awareness) seem distinct from the basic non-sentient cognitive tasks of gathering, processing and storing information, which are demonstrated by most animals. Studies that attempt to differentiate between basic cognitive functions and higher levels of awareness are rare for most animal taxa, including hermit crabs. Therefore, while results such as those obtained from studies of hermit crab behaviour are compatible with sentience they cannot yet be distinguished from simpler explanations based on basic cognitive functions, which we should prefer for the time-being. Nevertheless, hermit crabs are promising model systems for investigating awareness in animals.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Count-based decision-making in mice: numerosity vs. stimulus control

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      Abstract: Abstract Numerical and temporal control of behavior is ubiquitous across many species of animals. Recent studies showed that in the presence of reliable discriminative stimuli, mice ignore temporal relations and probabilistic information but when discriminative stimuli become non-informative, the same mice can spontaneously start relying on previously experienced time intervals and probabilities. Similar dynamics do not readily generalize to counting behavior since the response-outcome contingency functions differ when reinforcement depends on the number vs. timing of responding. In the current study, mice (N = 32) learned to press two different levers 10 (few) or 20 (many) times, while the active lever was signaled by a light stimulus. The probability of the few/many trials was manipulated between groups. During testing, the informative value of light stimulus was eliminated by signaling both few- and many-levers. In a quarter of training trials, mice ignored the discriminative stimulus and adopted a numerical decision strategy (starting to respond on the few-option and then switching to the many-option in many trials) that was sensitive to probabilistic information. The frequency but not the probability-sensitive parametrization of switching behavior changed when the discriminative stimulus became non-informative in testing. These findings suggest that there is a relatively strong representational control over counting behavior even in conditions that afford strong stimulus control.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Degraded and computer-generated speech processing in a bonobo

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      Abstract: Abstract The human auditory system is capable of processing human speech even in situations when it has been heavily degraded, such as during noise-vocoding, when frequency domain-based cues to phonetic content are strongly reduced. This has contributed to arguments that speech processing is highly specialized and likely a de novo evolved trait in humans. Previous comparative research has demonstrated that a language competent chimpanzee was also capable of recognizing degraded speech, and therefore that the mechanisms underlying speech processing may not be uniquely human. However, to form a robust reconstruction of the evolutionary origins of speech processing, additional data from other closely related ape species is needed. Specifically, such data can help disentangle whether these capabilities evolved independently in humans and chimpanzees, or if they were inherited from our last common ancestor. Here we provide evidence of processing of highly varied (degraded and computer-generated) speech in a language competent bonobo, Kanzi. We took advantage of Kanzi’s existing proficiency with touchscreens and his ability to report his understanding of human speech through interacting with arbitrary symbols called lexigrams. Specifically, we asked Kanzi to recognise both human (natural) and computer-generated forms of 40 highly familiar words that had been degraded (noise-vocoded and sinusoidal forms) using a match-to-sample paradigm. Results suggest that—apart from noise-vocoded computer-generated speech—Kanzi recognised both natural and computer-generated voices that had been degraded, at rates significantly above chance. Kanzi performed better with all forms of natural voice speech compared to computer-generated speech. This work provides additional support for the hypothesis that the processing apparatus necessary to deal with highly variable speech, including for the first time in nonhuman animals, computer-generated speech, may be at least as old as the last common ancestor we share with bonobos and chimpanzees.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
 
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