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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Jul;118(1):514-22.

Characterizing noise in nonhuman vocalizations: Acoustic analysis and human perception of barks by coyotes and dogs.

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  • 1Institute for Theoretical Biology, Humboldt University of Berlin, D-10115 Berlin, Germany.


Measuring noise as a component of mammalian vocalizations is of interest because of its potential relevance to the communicative function. However, methods for characterizing and quantifying noise are less well established than methods applicable to harmonically structured aspects of signals. Using barks of coyotes and domestic dogs, we compared six acoustic measures and studied how they are related to human perception of noisiness. Measures of harmonic-to-noise-ratio (HNR), percent voicing, and shimmer were found to be the best predictors of perceptual rating by human listeners. Both acoustics and perception indicated that noisiness was similar across coyote and dog barks, but within each species there was significant variation among the individual vocalizers. The advantages and disadvantages of the various measures are discussed.

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