A Study of Human Perception of Intonation in Domestic Cat Meows

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Abstract

This study examined human listeners’ ability to classify domestic cat vocalisations (meows) recorded in two different contexts; during feeding time (food related meows) and while waiting to visit a veterinarian (vet related meows). A pitch analysis showed a tendency for food related meows to have rising F0 contours, while vet related meows tended to have more falling F0 contours. 30 listeners judged twelve meows (six of each context) in a perception test. Classification accuracy was significantly above chance, and listeners who had reported previous experience with cats performed significantly better than inexperienced listeners. Moreover, the two food related meows with the highest classification accuracy showed clear rising
F0 contours, while clear falling F0 contours characterised the two vet related meows that received the highest classification accuracy. Listeners also reported that some meows were very easy to classify, while others were more difficult. Taken together, these results suggest that cats may use different intonation patterns in their vocal interaction with humans, and that humans are able to identify the vocalisations based on intonation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial and Linguistic Speech Prosody : Proceedings of the 7th international conference on Speech Prosody
EditorsNick Campbell, Dafydd Gibbon, Daniel Hirst
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSpeech Prosody 7 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 2014 May 202014 May 23

Publication series

Name
ISSN (Print)2333-2042

Conference

ConferenceSpeech Prosody 7
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period2014/05/202014/05/23

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003), Humanities Lab (015101200)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

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  • Phonetic Characteristics of Domestic Cat Vocalisations

    Schötz, S., van de Weijer, J. & Eklund, R., 2017 Aug 25, Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Vocal interactivity in-and-between Humans, Animals and Robots: VIHAR 2017. Dassow, A., Marxer, R. & Moore, R. K. (eds.). p. 5–6

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review

    Open Access

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