Vocalization categorization behavior explained by a feature-based auditory categorization model [article]

Manaswini Kar, Marianny Pernia, Kayla Williams, Satyabrata Parida, Nathan Alan Schneider, Madelyn McAndrew, Isha Kumbam, Srivatsun Sadagopan
2022 bioRxiv   pre-print
Vocal animals produce multiple categories of calls with high between- and within-subject variability, over which listeners must generalize to accomplish call categorization. The behavioral strategies and neural mechanisms that support this ability to generalize are largely unexplored. We previously proposed a theoretical model that accomplished call categorization by detecting features of intermediate complexity that best contrasted each call category from all other categories. We further
more » ... trated that some neural responses in the primary auditory cortex were consistent with such a model. Here, we asked whether a feature-based model could predict call categorization behavior. We trained both the model and guinea pigs on call categorization tasks using natural calls. We then tested categorization by the model and guinea pigs using temporally and spectrally altered calls. Both the model and guinea pigs were surprisingly resilient to temporal manipulations, but sensitive to moderate frequency shifts. Critically, model performance quantitatively matched guinea pig behavior to a remarkable degree. By adopting different model training strategies and examining features that contributed to solving specific tasks, we could gain insight into possible strategies used by animals to categorize calls. Our results validate a model that uses the detection of intermediate-complexity contrastive features to accomplish call categorization.
doi:10.1101/2022.03.09.483596 fatcat:qscvudrf6ngepirzpxmxrjpfx4