Melody in human–cat communication

Project: Research

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Animal and Dairy Science

Layman's description

The purpose of this project is to study the communication between humans and domestic cats. Specifically, we will investigate how the prosody, including the voice, melody (intonation) and speaking style – in human speech as well as in cat vocalisations – influence the vocal communication.

In Study 1 we will investigate how cats vary their melody (intonation) in human-directed and cat-directed vocalisations. How is cat prosody varied in different contexts or situations? How do human listeners perceive this intonational variation? We will develop a prosodic typology of cat vocalisations and present our results on a popular scientific website.

Study 2 will apply new methods to examine how cats perceive different prosodic cues in human speech. Do they distinguish between different voices (familiar-unfamiliar, adults-children) and speaking styles (pet-directed, adult-directed), and do they prefer certain intonation patterns?

The project primarily concerns basic research and represents pioneering work within human–cat communication. Our results may lead to an improved quality of life for cats and potentially for other pets as well. Understanding the vocal strategies used by humans and cats in human–cat communication will have profound implications for our understanding of how we communicate with our pets in general, and has the potential to improve the relation between animals and humans within several fields, including animal therapy, veterinary medicine, and animal sheltering.
Short titleMeowsic
StatusActive
Effective start/end date2016/07/012021/07/01

Participants

Related research output

Susanne Schötz, 2019 Jan 15, 1 ed. Stockholm: Forum. 264 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Susanne Schötz, 2018 Nov 1, Hanover Square Press. 288 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Susanne Schötz, 2017 Sep 21, Salzburg: Ecowin. 256 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

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Related activities

Schötz, S. (Interviewee)
2019 May 30

Activity: OtherMedia participation

Schötz, S. (Interviewee)
2019 Apr 27

Activity: OtherMedia participation

Schötz, S. (Interviewee)
2019 Feb 25

Activity: OtherMedia participation

View all (7)