Munich Neuroscience Calendar


23.01.2020, 13:00 Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie
until 14:00
Event Type: Talk
Speaker: Steffen Hage
Institute: Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen

Title: Vocal motor control mechanisms in marmoset monkeys: new insights into the evolution of human speech

Seminar room, Bldg. 4
82319 Seewiesen

Host: Daniela Vallentin
Host Email:
Monkey vocalizations have been assumed to be largely innate, highly affective, and stereotyped for over 50 years. Recently, this perception has dramatically changed. Current studies including our own have revealed distinct learning mechanisms during vocal development and vocal flexibility allowing monkeys to cognitively control when, where, and what to vocalize, all of which are crucial biological preadaptations in monkeys for the emergence of a language system in humans. I will give an overview on our recent studies on marmoset monkeys. I will present data that are indicating that vocalizations of marmoset monkeys do not consist of one discrete call pattern but are built out of many sequentially uttered units, like human speech. Furthermore, will give insights into recent studies that indicate a potential role of auditory feedback on vocal development in marmoset monkeys. Finally, I will show first data indicating that marmosets are able to control their vocal output in a goal-directed way to perform a specific task successfully and how this behavior can be used to investigate neural mechanisms underlying vocal motor control.

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