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Evolution of Emotional CommunicationFrom Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man$
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Eckart Altenmüller, Sabine Schmidt, and Elke Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.001.0001

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Vocalizations as indicators of emotional states in rats and cats

Vocalizations as indicators of emotional states in rats and cats

Chapter:
(p.75) Chapter 5 Vocalizations as indicators of emotional states in rats and cats
Source:
Evolution of Emotional Communication
Author(s):

Stefan M. Brudzynski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.003.0005

Two mesolimbic tegmental systems are involved in the initiation and maintenance of two basic emotional states. The ascending cholinergic system can initiate a negative state with accompanying autonomic and somatic symptoms, and the ascending dopaminergic system can initiates a positive state also with characteristic physiological changes. These organismal states, including the relevant emotional states, are signaled by vocalization to conspecifics. Emission of the state-characteristic vocalization has adaptive value for individuals living in social groups. As shown for cats and rats, negative, alarming/threatening vocalizations are initiated by release of acetylcholine in the medial cholinoceptive vocalization strip (i.e., a limited strip of brain tissue, from which vocalization can be induced by cholinomimetics). The vocalizations are characterized by a low and relatively constant sound frequency and long duration of individual calls. Positive, appetitive calls are initiated by release of dopamine in the shell of the nucleus accumbens, and at least in rats, are characterized by high and often modulated sound frequency and short duration of individual calls. High repeatability of relevant acoustic features of positive or negative vocalizations makes them useful indices of animal emotional states.

Keywords:   mesolimbic dopaminergic system, mesolimbic cholinergic system, acetylcholine, dopamine, medial cholinoceptive vocalization strip, growling vocalization, alarm vocalization, aversive state, appetitive state, expression of emotions, cats, rats

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