Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Cocktail-Party Effect in King Penguin Colonies

Thierry Aubin and Pierre Jouventin
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 265, No. 1406 (Sep. 7, 1998), pp. 1665-1673
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/51139
Page Count: 9
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Cocktail-Party Effect in King Penguin Colonies
Preview not available

Abstract

The king penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus, breeds without a nest in colonies of several thousands of birds. To be fed, the chick must recognize the parents in a particularly noisy environment using only vocal cues. The call an adult makes when seeking the chick is emitted at a high amplitude level. Nevertheless, it is transmitted in a colonial context involving the noise generated by the colony and the screening effect of the bodies, both factors reducing the signal-to-noise ratio. In addition, the adult call is masked by a back-ground noise with similar amplitude and spectral and temporal characteristics, enhancing the difficulty for the chick in finding its parents. We calculate that the maximum distance from the caller at which its signal can be differentiated from the background noise (signal-to-noise ratio equal to 1) should not exceed 8-9 m in a feeding area. But our tests show that, in fact, chicks can discriminate between the parental call and calls from other adults at a greater distance, even when call intensity is well below that of the noise of simultaneous calls produced by other adults. This capacity to perceive and extract the call of the parent from the ambient noise and particularly from the calls of other adults, termed the 'cocktail-party effect' in speech intelligibility tests, enhances the chick's ability to find its parents.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
1665
    1665
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1666
    1666
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1667
    1667
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1668
    1668
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1669
    1669
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1670
    1670
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1671
    1671
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1672
    1672
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1673
    1673