Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Listeners can extract meaning from non-linguistic infant vocalisations cross-culturally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

We present empirical evidence showing that the acoustic properties of non-linguistic vocalisations produced by human infants in different cultures can be used cross-culturally by listeners to make inferences about the infant’s current behaviour. We recorded natural infant vocalisations in Scotland and Uganda in five social contexts; declarative pointing, giving an object, requesting an action, protesting, and requesting food. Using a playback paradigm, we tested parents and non-parents, who either had regular or no experience with young children, from Scotland and Uganda in their ability to match infant vocalisations of both cultures to their respective production contexts. All participants performed above chance, regardless of prior experience with infants or cultural background, with only minor differences between participant groups. Results suggest that acoustic variations in non-linguistic infant vocalisations transmit broad classes of information to listeners, even in the absence of additional cues from gesture or context, and that these cues may reflect universal properties similar to the ‘referential’ information discovered in non-human primate vocalisations.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number41016
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2017

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Alarm calling and kinship

    Stephan, C. & Zuberbuhler, K. 30 Oct 2016 (Accepted/In press) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Shackelford, T. K. & Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds.). Springer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  2. Vocal grooming

    Zuberbuehler, K. & Fedurek, P. 3 Nov 2016 (Accepted/In press) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Shackelford, T. K. & Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds.). Springer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  3. Flexible use of simple and combined calls in female Campbell's monkeys

    Coye, C., Ouattara, K., Arlet, M. E., Lemmasson, A. & Zuberbuhler, K. Jul 2018 In : Animal Behaviour. 141, p. 171-181 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Combinatorial capacities in primates

    Zuberbuhler, K. 6 Jun 2018 In : Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 21, p. 161-169 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  5. Quantifying uncertainty due to fission–fusion dynamics as a component of social complexity

    Ramos-Fernandez, G., King, A. J., Beehner, J. C., Bergman, T. J., Crofoot, M. C., Di Fiore, A., Lehmann, J., Schaffner, C. M., Snyder-Mackler, N., Zuberbühler, K., Aureli, F. & Boyer, D. 30 May 2018 In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 285, 1879, 20180532

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. 150,000-year palaeoclimate record from northern Ethiopia supports early, multiple dispersals of modern humans from Africa

    Lamb, H., Bates, C. R., Bryant, C., Davies, S., Huws, D., Marshall, M. & Roberts, H. 18 Jan 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 7 p., 1077

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Aquatic behaviour of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in an increasingly ice-free Arctic

    Lone, K., Kovacs, K. M., Lydersen, C., Fedak, M., Andersen, M., Lovell, P. & Aars, J. 26 Jun 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 12 p., 9677

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Assessing cetacean surveys throughout the Mediterranean Sea: a gap analysis in environmental space

    Mannocci, L. , Roberts, J. J. , Halpin, P. N. , Authier, M. , Boisseau, O. , Bradai, M. N. , Cañadas, A. , Chicote, C. , David, L. , Di-Méglio, N. , Fortuna, C. M. , Frantzis, A. , Gazo, M. , Genov, T. , Hammond, P. S. , Holcer, D. , Kaschner, K. , Kerem, D. , Lauriano, G. , Lewis, T. & 7 others Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Panigada, S., Raga, J. A., Scheinin, A., Ridoux, V., Vella, A. & Vella, J. 15 Feb 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 14 p., 3126

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Click communication in wild harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)

    Sørensen, P. M., Wisniewska, D. M., Jensen, F. H., Johnson, M., Teilmann, J. & Madsen, P. T. 26 Jun 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 11 p., 9702

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Hot-Hole cooling controls the initial ultrafast relaxation in methylammonium lead iodide perovskite

    Hedley, G. J., Quarti, C., Harwell, J. R., Prezhdo, O., Beljonne, D. & Samuel, I. D. W. 25 May 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 9 p., 8115

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Borst, A. M. (Reviewer)
    10 Feb 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Carroll, E. L. (Member of editorial board)
    3 Oct 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  3. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Somorjai, I. M. L. (Reviewer)
    2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Pulver, S. (Editor)
    12 Feb 201512 Feb 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  5. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Powis, S. J. (Member of editorial board)
    1 May 2012

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

ID: 248669616