We will do our best to keep you updated about our project activities, including our studies, data collection of cat vocalisations and cat–directed speech, perception tests (how do cats perceive different speaking styles in human speech?, how do human listeners judge different melodies in cat vocalisations?), analyses, reports from project meetings, talks, conferences, etc.
The team was awarded the 2021 IG Nobel Prize in biology "for analyzing variations in purring, chirping, chattering, trilling, tweedling, murmuring, meowing, moaning, squeaking, hissing, yowling, howling, growling, and other modes of cat–human communication".
INTERCOM is a new Advanced Study Group at the Pufendorf Institute on Interspecific Communication. The group has members from numerous disciplines and will study a number of research questions related to interspecific communication.
In collaboration with Lund University and the Humanities Lab we have put together a small quiz with sounds by cats in positive or negative situations. Can you tell which is which?
For some time now we have been analysing meow intonation in different contexts and mental states using a number of different methods. The picture shows an example of how meows produced in positive mental states seem to have a more positive slope (i.e. rising contour) than meows produced in negative mental states (Thanks to Andrey Anikin for helping with R scripts).
Joost and Susanne presented our results from our Study 1 at the 2nd International Workshop on Vocal Interactivity in-and-between Humans, Animals and Robots (VIHAR), 29-30 August 2019, in London, UK.
After careful analysis of meow vocalisations produced by 40 cats we have now been able to compare melody contours representing average values for the different contexts and mental states by visual inspection of the contours.
We are now running acoustic analysis on our collected data — mainly the duration (length) fundamental frequency (pitch and melody) — in order to learn more about the variation between different types of meowing (by cats in different mental states and in different behavioural contexts).
We now have segmented, categorised and also labelled the context and mental state of the cat for over 1000 cat vocalisations. The beautiful Maine Coone Ani in the picture has contributed with numerous trills and growls. (Photo taken from video sent to us by Ani's owner Joakim Gustafson)
Robert Eklund was interviewed about our project in the Swedish national television (Kunskapskanalen) show Språknyheterna (The Language News) .
Robert Eklund continues to record vocalisations from cats in Linköping and Stockholm. We now have data from 70 (!) cats. One of them is Missy, the beautiful cat in the picture.
In a radio interview (Swedish SR P4 Östergötland) Robert Eklund gave an update on the project and our current data collection. The beautiful cat in the picture is called Zombie.
Now we are finally beginning to analyse our material of cat sounds. The picture shows one of the first F0 analyses of meows in different contexts, based on 9 cats. Stay tuned for more analyses.
Robert and Susanne recorded ten cats in the Stockholm area and Robert is continuing to collect data in the Stockholm and Linköping areas. Thank you Göran (the beautiful red cat in the picture) and all other cats and owners for your help!
Susanne Schötz was interviewed about the project on the Swiss television show Aeschbacher, which was broadcasted on January 7, 2018.
We are contuinuing to collect data from Scanian cats. The handsome Birman cat Simba in the picture is deaf, but we were able to record some nice vocalisations anyway.
Susanne Schötz was interviewed about our projects by Swedish Radio and TV (e.g. Radio P4 Väst, SR Ekot, TV 4, and Radio P4).
Susanne Schötz was interviewed about the project, and some video examples from our project website were used in the online article to illustrate different cat vocalisation types.
Susanne Schötz gave a lecture at the Lund University Jubilee Course about our project and about the different cat sound categories that we are using in our research (in Swedish).
We are currently collecting data from cats in Scania in the south of Sweden. The cats often wear small microphones attached to their collars, while their owners wear a videocamera on their heads (a GoPro). In this video you can see the cat Moses greeting his owner with meows, and then he gets his dinner.
Our data collection has improved since we started to use new (small and utralight) bluetooth microphones which attach nicely to a cat collar.
In October we continued to test and evaluate different types of recording equipment and collected a large number of nice meows.
Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) student Irma Hammar, who has been working in our project during the summer, reported her project results at the Medicine Faculty at Lund University. Irma has collected information on where and how cats are used in animal assisted thearpy (AAT) within the field of SLP in Sweden and other countries.
The project is still getting a lot of media attention. We have made several radio and TV interviews in Sweden and other countries.
In February, March and Aprtil 2016 articles about our project were published in Sweden, UK, USA, Switzerland, Spain, Chile, Australia and many other countries. We have also given several radio and TV interviews that have been broadcasted in Sweden and other countries.
In February 2016 we sneak previewed and tested some of the recording equipment and techniques we are planning to use in the project.
On January 28, 2016 we held our very first project meeting in Lund to begin planning our project.
On January 19, 2016 we celebrated our project grant in the Humanities Lab at Lund University with "project cake".
This video was shot in August 2016 using multiple cameras, including miniature cameras attached to the cats' collars.