Abstract # 10:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:15 AM-11:25 AM: Session 1 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Symposium


The expression of emotion in the voiced sounds of rhesus monkeys and African elephants

J. Soltis1, C. M. Wesolek1, K. A. Leighty1, A. Savage1 and J. D. Newman2
1Disney's Animal Kingdom, Education & Science, 1200 North Savanah Circle East, Bay lake, Florida 32830, USA, 2Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, Maryland
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     Research conducted in zoological parks allows for the controlled study of exotic species not found in laboratories, and can further comparative approaches to the study of animal behavior. Empirical evidence in primates suggests that the physiological activity associated with non-specific emotional arousal is reflected in the voice, but there is little comparative data on non-primate mammals. We developed a suite of acoustic characteristics known to be related to emotional arousal, and applied them to the voiced sounds of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) at Cayo Santiago (n=10) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (n=6). Acoustic measurements were made on rhesus macaque ‘coos’ and African elephant ‘rumbles’ produced in social contexts of both ‘low’ and ‘high’ arousal. Both species exhibited statistically significant and similar acoustic responses to the ‘high’ arousal condition, including increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, increased call durations and amplitudes, and a shift in formant locations [MANOVA, a=0.05, two-tailed]. These results suggest that the internal states of mammals can be expressed in the voice, and that the acoustic-structural response to non-specific emotional arousal is broadly applicable across mammals.