Alteration of the temporal association between courtship audio and visual components affects female sexual response

Clémentine Mitoyen, Cliodhna Quigley, Virginie Canoine, Silvia Colombo, Simon Wölfl, Leonida Fusani

Some multimodal signals—that is, occurring in more than one sensory modality—appear to carry additional information which is not present when component signals are presented separately. To understand the function of male ring dove's (Streptopelia risoria) multimodal courtship, we used audiovisual playback of male displays to investigate female response to stimuli differing in their audiovisual timing. From natural courtship recordings, we created a shifted stimulus where audio was shifted relative to video by a fixed value and a jittered stimulus, where each call was moved randomly along the visual channel. We presented 3 groups of females with the same stimulus type, that is, control, shifted, and jittered, for 7 days. We recorded their behavior and assessed pre- and post-test blood estradiol concentration. We found that playback exposure increased estradiol levels, confirming that this technique can be efficiently used to study doves’ sexual communication. Additionally, chasing behavior (indicating sexual stimulation) increased over experimental days only in the control condition, suggesting a role of multimodal timing on female response. This stresses the importance of signal configuration in multimodal communication, as additional information is likely to be contained in the temporal association between modalities.

Department für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie, Forschungsverbund Kognitionswissenschaft
Externe Organisation(en)
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Integrative Zoology
ÖFOS 2012
106051 Verhaltensbiologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Animal Science and Zoology
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