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Primate Audition: Ethology and Neurobiology

2002 Edition, August 28, 2002

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-0-8493-0956-4
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2002 Edition, August 28, 2002
  • Published Date: August 28, 2002
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 333
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


Neuroethological research has been critical for our understanding of brain function and how natural selection shapes brain design for complex behaviors. The value of this approach is evident in the auditory model systems that are currently popular: echolocation in bats, song learning and prey localization in birds, and mate choice in frogs. Even in human neurobiological studies, speech perception and production represent the paradigm example of a specialized system in the cerebral cortex. It is therefore surprising that few researchers interested in the neural substrate of non-human primate auditory processing have adopted a similar naturalistic approach. With the advent of new signal-processing techniques and the exponential growth in our knowledge of primate behavior, the time has arrived for a neurobiological investigation of the primate auditory system based on principles derived from ethology.

A neuroethology of primate hearing may also yield insights into human speech processing. Like speech, the species-specific vocalizations of non-human primates mediate social interactions, convey important emotional information, and in some cases refer to objects and events in the caller's environment. These functional similarities suggest that the selective pressures that shaped primate vocal communication are similar to those that influenced the evolution of human speech. As such, investigating the perception and production of vocalizations in extant non-human primates provides one avenue for understanding the neural mechanisms of speech and for illuminating the substrates underlying the evolution of human language.

Primate Audition: Ethology and Neurobiology is the first book whose primary purpose is to bridge the epistemological gap between primate ethologists and auditory neurobiologists. To do this, the knowledge of leading world experts on different aspects of primate auditory function has been brought together in a single volume. The book covers the state-of-the-art work on a variety of issues in primate auditory perception. Topics include the functional organization and anatomy of the primate auditory system, spatial localization of sounds and its neural basis, function and perception of conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations and their ontogeny, neural encoding of complex sounds, vocal production and its relationship to perception, and the acoustic cues guiding vocal recognition. This synthesis of ethological and neurobiological approaches to primate vocal behavior is likely to yield the richest understanding of the acoustic and neural bases of primate audition.