Integrating Playback: A Wider Context

  • Clive K. Catchpole
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 228)


The scientific study of bird sounds has always been characterised and enriched by a variety of approaches. Classic works by Armstrong (1963) and Hartshorne (1973) were almost purely descriptive and yet both were pre-dated by Thorpe (1961) whose pioneering experimental approach to the development of bird song had far reaching implications influencing a whole generation of ethologists and experimental psychologists. The subject also reflects trends in scientific method and in recent years it has become fashionable to construct hypotheses and then design experiments which test their predictions. The hypothetico-deductive method advocated by Popper (1959), states a clear hypothesis then seeks to falsify it by experiment, whereas the inductive method (Platt 1964) tests alternative hypotheses by experiments which distinguish between them. Although the Popperian approach does not require statistical hypothesis testing, most biologists use inferential statistics in the design, analysis and interpretation of their experimental results.


Song Type Reed Warbler Playback Experiment Repertoire Size Male Song 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clive K. Catchpole
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Royal Holloway & Bedford New CollegeUniversity of LondonEgham, SurreyUK

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