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J Acoust Soc Am. 2009 Aug;126(2):911-9. doi: 10.1121/1.3158928.

The effect of altered auditory feedback on control of vocal production in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus).

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Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Budgerigars learn their vocalizations by reference to auditory information and they retain the ability to learn new vocalizations throughout life. Auditory feedback of these vocalizations was manipulated in three experiments by training birds to produce vocalizations while wearing small earphones. Experiments 1 and 2 examined the effect of background noise level (Lombard effect) and the effect of manipulating feedback level from self-produced vocalizations (Fletcher effect), respectively. Results show that birds exhibit both a Lombard effect and a Fletcher effect. Further analysis showed that changes in vocal intensity were accompanied by changes in call fundamental frequency and duration. Experiment 3 tested the effect of delaying or altering auditory feedback during vocal production. Results showed subsequent production of incomplete and distorted calls in both feedback conditions. These distortions included changes in the peak fundamental frequency, amplitude, duration, and spectrotemporal structure of calls. Delayed auditory feedback was most disruptive to subsequent calls when the delay was 25 ms. Longer delays resulted in fewer errors.

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