The European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant is awarded to young researchers who have already demonstrated an outstanding performance in their field and thus foster their research activities over a period of five years. This year, Attila Andics, the supervisor of the MTA-ELTE Lendület (Momentum) Neuroethology of Communication Research Group at the ELTE Department of Ethology of the Institute of Biology, was the only applicant from Hungary to win the grant.
In the coming five years, he will explore the mental background to voice and speech perception in different species of mammals employing novel cognitive neuroscientific and ethological methods. Never before has such a complex comparative approach been applied in investigations exploring the evolutionary and cultural elements of voice perception skills.
The aim of the research project entitled Voice and speech perception across mammals: a comparative study of humans, dogs and pigs (VOIMA), starting in 2021, is to establish whether the brain specializations for speech perception are human-unique or they developed due to the emergence and spread of speech adapting already existing mental processes to a new purpose.