Timing, rhythm and synchrony in animal Signals (Week 10, 3 ECTS)

In this module we will introduce the major temporal features of acoustic signaling in arthropod and vertebrate animals, including acoustic expression in human language and music. Particular attention will be paid to the role of rhythm in organizing signal features occurring in the time domain.  Having established this general framework, we will examine the ways in which the signal rhythms of multiple individuals displaying within animal groups interact and generate temporal patterns ranging from synchrony to counter-singing (alternation) and more complex ‘orchestral’ arrangements.  Physiological, ecological and evolutionary bases of signaling rhythm and rhythm interaction will be addressed.  Practical sessions will encompass study of current research reported in the primary literature, quantitative and experimental methods for measuring rhythm and rhythm interaction, and modeling approaches used to simulate and test the functions of signaling interaction in animal groups.


Learning outcomes:


By the end of the course, a successful student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate familiarity with the temporal features of signaling and signal interaction in arthropod and vertebrate animals and in the expression of language and music in humans.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of how rhythm interaction may function and of the various factors which may account for such phenomena.

3. Measure the various temporal parameters, and their variation, of signals and signal interaction.

4. Un derstand how modeling can be used to simulate signal interactions and test how and why these interactions function.


2022 provisional Schedule

Monday 14th November

Morning Lecture: Timing, rhythm and rhythm interaction in animal species - an overview. An introduction to temporal features of animal signals and rhythm, with a Specific focus on acoustic signals, perception and rhythm in insects and anurans. (M.Greenfield).

Afternoon Practical:  Measures of rhythm and rhythm interaction in insects  and anurans.  Preparation for Friday presentations (distribution of scientific papers that will be presented on Friday) - (M.Greenfield).


Tuesday 15th November

Morning Lecture:  Rhythm interaction in animal groups: physiology, ecology and evolution (M.Greenfield).

Afternoon Practical:  Playback methods for probing rhythm interaction; modeling approaches for simulating interaction and testing its function (M.Greenfield).


Wednesday 16th November

Morning Lectures:  Rhythm and rhythmic interaction in speech, music, and animal communication: Behaviour. 
9:30-11:10: Andrea Ravignani (1.5hr)
11:20-11:50: Lara S. Burchardt (0.5hr) [online]
12:00-12:30: Chiara De Gregorio (0.5hr)
13:30-16:30: Afternoon Practical: Visualizing musical rhythmic patterns and quantifying rhythm in human speech. Chiara De Gregorio, Daria Valente, Koen de Reus, Andrea Ravignani
Long break

19:00-20:00: Evening lecture Aniruddh D. Patel [online]


Thursday 17th November

Morning Lectures:  Rhythm and rhythmic interaction in speech, music, and animal communication: Brain & Body.
9:30-10:30: Daniele Schön (1hr) [online]
10:45-11:45: Wim Pouw (1hr) [online]
Lunch break featuring an optional session (outdoor if the weather is nice) – no attendance required: Ask the lecturer (Andrea Ravignani) any question about PhD, academia, future opportunities, etc.
13:00-15:30: Afternoon Practical:  Recap of previous modeling techniques Running an agent-based model of timing processes in the brain/mind (e.g. accumulator saw-tooth model) or interactive processes in group rhythms and discovering what happens upon altering the model parameters. Michael Greenfield & Andrea Ravignani & Koen de Reus.

16:00-17:00: Afternoon lecture Reyna Gordon [online]


Friday 18th November

Morning:  General discussion: overall comparison of timing and rhythm in human language, music and animal signaling.

Lunch: ENES lab talk

Afternoon: Oral presentations of scientific papers.  Note: depending on the number of students, presentations may begin in mid-morning.



The final mark will be based on the oral presentation of a scientific paper (duration = 10 min + 5 min questions).


Organisers and Tutors: Andrea Ravignani, Michael Greenfield

Demonstrators: Koen de Reus, Chiara De Gregorio, Daria Valente.

Guest Speakers: Daniele Schön (France), Wim Pouw (NL), Reyna Gordon (US), Aniruddh D. Patel (US), Lara S. Burchardt (Germany), Chiara De Gregorio (Italy).