Spectral preferences and the role of spatial coherence in simultaneous integration in gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis)

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Abstract

The perceptual analysis of acoustic scenes may often require the integration of simultaneous sounds arising from a single source. Few studies have investigated the cues that promote simultaneous integration in the context of acoustic communication in nonhuman animals. This study of Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) examined female preferences based on spectral features of conspecific male advertisement calls to test the hypothesis that cues related to common spatial origin promote the perceptual integration of simultaneous signal elements (harmonics). The typical advertisement call comprises two harmonically related spectral peaks near 1.1 kHz and 2.2 kHz. Females generally exhibited preferences for calls with two spatially coherent harmonics over alternatives with just one harmonic. When given a choice between a spatially coherent call (both harmonics originating from the same speaker) and a spatially incoherent call (each harmonic from different spatially separated speakers), females preferentially chose the former in the same relative proportions in which it was chosen over single-harmonic alternatives. Preferences for spatially coherent calls over spatially incoherent alternatives did not appear to result from greater difficulty localizing the spatially incoherent sources. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that spatial coherence promotes perceptual integration of simultaneous signal elements in frogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-424
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume124
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Keywords

  • Acoustic communication
  • Auditory grouping
  • Auditory scene analysis
  • Grey treefrog
  • Hyla chrysoscelis

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