How parrots talk: insights based on CT scans, image processing, and mathematical models

Dianne K. Patterson, Irene M. Pepperberg, Brad H. Story, Eric A. Hoffman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about mechanisms of speech production in parrots. Recently, however, techniques for correlating vocal tract shape with vowel production in humans have become more sophisticated and we have adapted these techniques for use with parrots. We scanned two grey parrot heads with intact vocal tracts. One specimen, 'Oldbird' was fixed with its beak propped open; the second 'Youngbird' was fixed with its beak closed. Using VIDA software, we (1) established that differences in tongue and larynx positioning resulted from opening or closing the beak; and (2) obtained lengths and area functions for the trachea, glottis, pharynx, mouth, and choana for both specimens and esophageal length and area functions for the first specimen. We entered lengths and area functions into a 1D wave propagation model to determine the natural formant frequencies associated with an open versus closed beak. We also determined how manipulating lengths and area functions could affect formant frequency and relative intensity. Finally, by comparing observed grey parrot vowel formant, we predict how the parrot uses its vocal tract to produce speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Pages14-24
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)0819424447
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
EventMedical Imaging 1997: Physiology and Function from Multidimensional Images - Newport Beach, CA, USA
Duration: Feb 23 1997Feb 25 1997

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume3033
ISSN (Print)0277-786X

Other

OtherMedical Imaging 1997: Physiology and Function from Multidimensional Images
CityNewport Beach, CA, USA
Period2/23/972/25/97

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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