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Matching vocalizations to vocalizing faces in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)


Auditory–visual processing of species-specific vocalizations was investigated in a female chimpanzee named Pan. The basic task was auditory–visual matching-to-sample, where Pan was required to choose the vocalizer from two test movies in response to a chimpanzee’s vocalization. In experiment 1, movies of vocalizing and silent faces were paired as the test movies. The results revealed that Pan recognized the status of other chimpanzees whether they vocalized or not. In experiment 2, two different types of vocalizing faces of an identical individual were prepared as the test movies. Pan recognized the correspondence between vocalization types and faces. These results suggested that chimpanzees possess crossmodal representations of their vocalizations, as do humans. Together with the ability of vocal individual recognition, this ability might reflect chimpanzees’ profound understanding of the status of other individuals.

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This work was supported in part by the MEXT Grant-in-Aid for the 21st Century COE Program (Kyoto University, A2) and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 13410025) to S.K. The use of the chimpanzee adhered to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Primates (1986) of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Japan.

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Correspondence to Akihiro Izumi.

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Izumi, A., Kojima, S. Matching vocalizations to vocalizing faces in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Anim Cogn 7, 179–184 (2004).

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  • Chimpanzee
  • Vocalization
  • Vocal individual recognition
  • Crossmodal matching