Advanced

Common marmosets are sensitive to simple dependencies at variable distances in an artificial grammar

Reber, Stephan A. LU ; Šlipogor, Vedrana; Oh, Jinook; Ravignani, Andrea; Hoeschele, Marisa; Bugnyar, Thomas and Fitch, W. Tecumseh (2018) In Evolution and Human Behavior
Abstract

Recognizing that two elements within a sequence of variable length depend on each other is a key ability in understanding the structure of language and music. Perception of such interdependencies has previously been documented in chimpanzees in the visual domain and in human infants and common squirrel monkeys with auditory playback experiments, but it remains unclear whether it typifies primates in general. Here, we investigated the ability of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) to recognize and respond to such dependencies. We tested subjects in a familiarization-discrimination playback experiment using stimuli composed of pure tones that either conformed or did not conform to a grammatical rule. After familiarization to sequences... (More)

Recognizing that two elements within a sequence of variable length depend on each other is a key ability in understanding the structure of language and music. Perception of such interdependencies has previously been documented in chimpanzees in the visual domain and in human infants and common squirrel monkeys with auditory playback experiments, but it remains unclear whether it typifies primates in general. Here, we investigated the ability of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) to recognize and respond to such dependencies. We tested subjects in a familiarization-discrimination playback experiment using stimuli composed of pure tones that either conformed or did not conform to a grammatical rule. After familiarization to sequences with dependencies, marmosets spontaneously discriminated between sequences containing and lacking dependencies (‘consistent’ and ‘inconsistent’, respectively), independent of stimulus length. Marmosets looked more often to the sound source when hearing sequences consistent with the familiarization stimuli, as previously found in human infants. Crucially, looks were coded automatically by computer software, avoiding human bias. Our results support the hypothesis that the ability to perceive dependencies at variable distances was already present in the common ancestor of all anthropoid primates (Simiiformes).

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Automated video coding, Familiarity preference, Familiarization-discrimination, Interdependencies, Language evolution, Simiiformes
in
Evolution and Human Behavior
publisher
Elsevier Inc.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85058969361
ISSN
1090-5138
DOI
10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.11.006
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c54308ce-431a-43f5-b674-e0b1abb2f723
date added to LUP
2019-01-10 09:09:09
date last changed
2019-02-20 11:42:25
@article{c54308ce-431a-43f5-b674-e0b1abb2f723,
  abstract     = {<p>Recognizing that two elements within a sequence of variable length depend on each other is a key ability in understanding the structure of language and music. Perception of such interdependencies has previously been documented in chimpanzees in the visual domain and in human infants and common squirrel monkeys with auditory playback experiments, but it remains unclear whether it typifies primates in general. Here, we investigated the ability of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) to recognize and respond to such dependencies. We tested subjects in a familiarization-discrimination playback experiment using stimuli composed of pure tones that either conformed or did not conform to a grammatical rule. After familiarization to sequences with dependencies, marmosets spontaneously discriminated between sequences containing and lacking dependencies (‘consistent’ and ‘inconsistent’, respectively), independent of stimulus length. Marmosets looked more often to the sound source when hearing sequences consistent with the familiarization stimuli, as previously found in human infants. Crucially, looks were coded automatically by computer software, avoiding human bias. Our results support the hypothesis that the ability to perceive dependencies at variable distances was already present in the common ancestor of all anthropoid primates (Simiiformes).</p>},
  author       = {Reber, Stephan A. and Šlipogor, Vedrana and Oh, Jinook and Ravignani, Andrea and Hoeschele, Marisa and Bugnyar, Thomas and Fitch, W. Tecumseh},
  issn         = {1090-5138},
  keyword      = {Automated video coding,Familiarity preference,Familiarization-discrimination,Interdependencies,Language evolution,Simiiformes},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  publisher    = {Elsevier Inc.},
  series       = {Evolution and Human Behavior},
  title        = {Common marmosets are sensitive to simple dependencies at variable distances in an artificial grammar},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.11.006},
  year         = {2018},
}