Discrimination of phase altered targets by an echolocating Atlantic bottlenose dolphin

Stuart D. Ibsen, Mark W. Muller, Whitlow W.L. Au, Paul E. Nachtigall, Marlee Breese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Sensitivity of echolocating dolphins to phase changes within echoes may be a vital piece of information when constructing echolocation models. Previous experiments have yielded ambiguous results leaving it unclear what cues might have been used by passively listening dolphins to discriminate between different phase altered signals. This study used a phantom echo generator to produce computer controlled echoes. The dolphin interacted with the system in a real echolocation task to discriminate between simulated targets that were unaltered and those that had a 180° phase shift. The frequency amplitude spectral content between the two targets was the same. There were no temporal differences between the two targets. The only cue that the dolphin could use to discriminate between them was the 180° phase shift. The dolphin preformed at a success level of 40% in discriminating the two echoes. This indicates that the 180° phase shift was not perceived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1140
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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