Andrea Ravignani

Preprints

  • De Reus, K., Soma, M., Anichini, M., Gamba, M., de Heer Kloots, M., Lense, M., Bruno, J. H., Trainor, L., & Ravignani, A. (2020). Rhythm in Dyadic Interactions. PsyArXiv Preprints. doi:10.31234/osf.io/9yrkv.

    Abstract

    This review paper discusses rhythmic dyadic interactions in social and sexual contexts. We report rhythmic interactions during communication within dyads, as found in humans, non-human primates, non-primate mammals, birds, anurans and insects. Based on the patterns observed, we infer adaptive explanations for the observed rhythm interactions and identify knowledge gaps. Across species, the social environment during ontogeny is a key factor in shaping adult signal repertoires and timing mechanisms used to regulate interactions. The degree of temporal coordination is influenced by the dynamic and strength of the dyadic interaction. Most studies of temporal structure in interactive signals mainly focus on one modality (acoustic and visual); we suggest more work should be performed on multimodal signals. Multidisciplinary approaches combining cognitive science, ethology and ecology should shed more light on the exact timing mechanisms involved. Taken together, rhythmic signalling behaviours are widespread and critical in regulating social interactions across taxa.

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  • Hoeksema, N., Verga, L., Mengede, J., van Roessel, C., Villanueva, S., Salazar-Casals, A., Rubio-Garcia, A., Curcic-Blake, B., Vernes, S. C., & Ravignani, A. (2020). Neuroanatomy of the grey seal brain: Bringing pinnipeds into the neurobiological study of vocal learning. bioRxiv, 2020.12.19.423579. doi:10.1101/2020.12.19.423579.

    Abstract

    Comparative studies of vocal learning and vocal non-learning animals can increase our understanding of the neurobiology and evolution of vocal learning and human speech. Mammalian vocal learning is understudied: most research has either focused on vocal learning in songbirds or its absence in non-human primates. Here we focus on a highly promising model species for the neurobiology of vocal learning: grey seals. We provide a neuroanatomical atlas (based on dissected brain slices and magnetic resonance images), a labelled MRI template, a 3D model with volumetric measurements of brain regions, and histological cortical stainings. Four main features of the grey seal brain stand out. (1) It is relatively big and highly convoluted. (2) It hosts a relatively large temporal lobe and cerebellum, structures which could support developed timing abilities and acoustic processing. (3) The cortex is similar to humans in thickness and shows the expected six-layered mammalian structure. (4) Expression of FoxP2 - a gene involved in vocal learning and spoken language - is present in deeper layers of the cortex. Our results could facilitate future studies targeting the neural and genetic underpinnings of mammalian vocal learning, thus bridging the research gap from songbirds to humans and non-human primates.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

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