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Re: AUDITORY Digest - 1 May 2002 to 4 May 2002 (#2002-68)


Innate specializations is a feature of all intelligent systems.  The body
plans of different animal species are all different, with different
'layouts' as well as different sensory modalities... which requires that
their nervous systems be specialized for that particular animal.  Moreover,
a related point is that nervous systems are tailored for the behaviour of a
species, as I am sure you know.  For this reason, frog's eyes are
particularly sensitive to small black objects moving in a given range of
speeds (fly), for example.  Primate brains tend to examine complex visual
stimuli rather than simple stimuli, if both are present.  This happens with
babies, which means that it is an innate tendency of the human nervous
system.  It is similar with speech - had humans not have speech
specializations, we would not have been able to first copy (repeat) words,
second learn the meaning of those words, and third be creatures that use
complex language for communication.  Our ability to use language is an
innate specialization.

(A little off topic but noteworthy, is the fact that this specialization
have evolved like all of our abilities.  From "Language and imitation:
Informational processing and the elementary units of speech."

Fourth, we might expect such innate parameters, given their complexity and
diversity (languages vary widely in how they are pronounced) to have arisen
from preexisting information processing sensitivities in the sensory systems
of the nonhuman brain. Fitting in with this, both mammals and birds have
been found to process the parameters that characterise human speech. )

I think it is these 'sensitivities' you want to know about, and, indeed,
such sensitivities are abundant: it is largely such sensitivities that makes
different species all different, from what they can perceive to what they
can think.

I hope this helped.

Marius Myburg
Marius Myburg Intelligent Systems Research

> Date:    Sat, 4 May 2002 21:28:45 +0200
> From:    "Daniel A. Levy" <dlevyisi@NETVISION.NET.IL>
> Subject: <No subject given>
> Honorable List,
> In the course of writing up an electrophysiological (ERP) study of
> pre-phonetic processing specificity for human voice stimuli, I have been
> considering the argument that the existence of dedicated areas or systems
> for face or voice processing yielding speeded or more accurate analysis
> of those perceptual objects is adaptive.
> I would like to know whether it has been found that in non-human animals,
> aside from differences in general perceptual abilities in any
> given sensory
> modality, that there is specialization for particular perceptual objects
> that are attributed to the adaptive significance of those objects in the
> animal's environment.
> What I have already read and heard about are phenomena such as
> specialization for species-specific vocalizations, or face processing in
> primates - these phenomena are rather along the same lines as
> face or voice
> processing in humans. There are of course, specializations for the
> production of sound, such as bird song. But are there cases of e.g. animal
> brain areas/systems specialized for predator or prey sound perception, or
> bird brain areas for visual insect identification?
> Innate specialization or plasticity resulting from acquired
> expertise would
> both be interesting.
> Thank you,
> Daniel
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Daniel A. Levy
> Cognitive Electrophysiology Laboratory
> Department of Psychology
> The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
> Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905 ISRAEL
> ------------------------------
> End of AUDITORY Digest - 1 May 2002 to 4 May 2002 (#2002-68)
> ************************************************************