DOI: 10.1121/10.0020544 ISSN: 0001-4966

A review of ultrasonic vocalizations in mice and how they relate to human speech

Kylie Yao, Maria Bergamasco, Maria Luisa Scattoni, Adam P. Vogel
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Mice communicate through audible vocalizations, which are within the human hearing range, and ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), which are above the upper limit of human hearing. USVs are produced by rodents in social contexts including pup separation, territorial, and courting assays. Like birdsong, an established model for human speech, USVs in mice have been used as a model for understanding human communication. Their utility as a model of social communication is illustrated in neurodevelopmental conditions with a genetic basis, like autism spectrum disorders and Rett syndrome. As mice do not exhibit clear visual cues when they vocalize, the source of vocalization is often assumed. Therefore, there is potential to better discern the true vocal contribution of individual mice if the upper limit of human hearing were to be extended. Currently, there are efforts to increase the precision of sound-localizing technology, which will develop our understanding of communication in mice and other animal models.

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