Simple rules can explain discrimination of putative recursive syntactic structures by a songbird species

@article{Heijningen2009SimpleRC,
  title={Simple rules can explain discrimination of putative recursive syntactic structures by a songbird species},
  author={Caroline A A van Heijningen and J. de Visser and Willem H. Zuidema and C. Ten Cate},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  year={2009},
  volume={106},
  pages={20538 - 20543}
}
According to a controversial hypothesis, a characteristic unique to human language is recursion. Contradicting this hypothesis, it has been claimed that the starling, one of the two animal species tested for this ability to date, is able to distinguish acoustic stimuli based on the presence or absence of a center-embedded recursive structure. In our experiment we show that another songbird species, the zebra finch, can also discriminate between artificial song stimuli with these structures… Expand
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