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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Vocal communication sounds in non-human primates have often been considered as precursors of speech. Indeed, both speech and monkey calls consist of similar acoustic-phonetic elements, including harmonic tones, band-passed noise bursts, and frequency-modulated sweeps. These elements are concatenated into word-like auditory objects. In rhesus monkeys, as well as humans, these communication sounds are represented mostly in anterior regions of superior temporal cortex, which form a ventral processing stream. Posterior regions of superior temporal cortex, by contrast, are the starting point for an auditory dorsal stream, which is responsible for auditory-motor control. Voice sounds, which are non-verbal sounds for the expression of emotions that can also be used to identify speakers and their characteristics, form a partly overlapping category of communication sounds. They too are represented in dual-processing streams in the brains of humans and non-human primates, and may be an important stepping-stone in the evolution of language.

Keywords: auditory cortex, vocal communication, rhesus monkey, macaque, dual pathway model, ventral processing stream, dorsal processing stream, human speech

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