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?
These cat meows all have rising melody (intonation), and they represent typical food soliciting meows of the cats participating in a pilot study.
These cat meows all have fallling melody (intonation), and they represent typical unhappy meows (recorded in the waiting room at the vet's) of the cats participating in a pilot study.