Vocal and locomotor coordination develops in association with the autonomic nervous system

Morgan L. Gustison, Jeremy I. Borjon, Daniel Y. Takahashi, Asif A. Ghazanfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In adult animals, movement and vocalizations are coordinated, sometimes facilitating, and at other times inhibiting, each other. What is missing is how these different domains of motor control become coordinated over the course of development. We investigated how posturallocomotor behaviors may influence vocal development, and the role played by physiological arousal during their interactions. Using infant marmoset monkeys, we densely sampled vocal, postural and locomotor behaviors and estimated arousal fluctuations from electrocardiographic measures of heart rate. We found that vocalizations matured sooner than postural and locomotor skills, and that vocal-locomotor coordination improved with age and during elevated arousal levels. These results suggest that postural-locomotor maturity is not required for vocal development to occur, and that infants gradually improve coordination between vocalizations and body movement through a process that may be facilitated by arousal level changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere41853
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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