In Study 1 we will investigate how cats vary their melody (intonation) in human-directed and cat-directed vocalisations. How is cat prosody varied in different contexts or situations? How do human listeners perceive this intonational variation? We will develop a prosodic typology of cat vocalisations and present our results on a popular scientific website.
Study 2 will apply new methods to examine how cats perceive different prosodic cues in human speech. Do they distinguish between different voices (familiar-unfamiliar, adults-children) and speaking styles (pet-directed, adult-directed), and do they prefer certain intonation patterns?
We are currently collecting data using Video (on a tripod) as well as an action camera (a GoPro), and audio recording using small and light bluetooth microphones which easily attach to a cat collar and allow us to record high quality close-up recordings of cat vocalisations. The picture shows Cat 03 (Susanne's cat Turbo) wearing a bluetooth microphone.