W. Tecumseh Fitch is trained as a biologist and cognitive scientist, and is an expert in acoustic communication in vertebrates.
He performs experimental work with species including humans, fish, birds, reptiles and mammals, and works in both the lab and the field. After a post-doc at MIT, Fitch taught at Harvard (US) and St Andrews (UK), before joining the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna as a professor in June 2009. Fitch's research has two main strands: his work in bioacoustics has focused on understanding the mechanisms of vertebrate vocal production, and on using this understanding to generate realistic synthetic vocal stimuli for field and laboratory playback experiments. His work in biolinguistics and biomusicology has focused on the evolution of human speech, music and language, using the comparative approach to determine which mechanisms underlying these human faculties are shared with other species. From 2009 to 2014 this research was funded by an ERC Advanced Grant to study the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms underlying syntax and pattern perception.