Monkeys can recognize each others voices same way as humans

February 11th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by admin  

London, Feb 11 (ANI): A new study has suggested that monkeys can distinguish one anothers voices in much the same way that humans do.

The study was conducted on seven macaques by Chris Petkov and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tubingen, Germany.

According to a report in New Scientist, the study confirmed that monkey brains, too, have a voice region like the human beings.

In the human brain, the “voice region” in the auditory cortex activates when we hear others speak .

Earlier, it had been unclear if the human voice area was a specialist adaptation that evolved with our spoken language skills.

Now, the new study has indicated that monkeys use this voice region to distinguish between one anothers voices.

For the research, Petkovs team played a variety of sounds to seven macaques and used MRI to detect any brain areas with increased activity.

One region, corresponding to a site close to the voice region in the human brain, lit up in response to the coos and grunts of the macaques, but was less active when the monkeys heard other animals or natural sounds, such as those of insects, thunder and rain.

Further tests on one monkey showed that the same brain area was more sensitive to differences between individual voices than to differences in the sounds uttered by the same macaque.

“This means we may be able to use these monkeys as a model to study ‘voice blindness’, a condition where humans cannot tell people apart by their voices,” said Petkov. (ANI)

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