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A blueprint for vocal learning: auditory predispositions from brains genomes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1178-4053
2015 (English)In: Biology Letters, ISSN 1744-9561, E-ISSN 1744-957X, Vol. 11, no 8, 20150155Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Memorizing and producing complex strings of sound are requirements for spoken human language. We share these behaviours with likely more than 4000 species of songbirds, making birds our primary model for studying the cognitive basis of vocal learning and, more generally, an important model for how memories are encoded in the brain. In songbirds, as in humans, the sounds that a juvenile learns later in life depend on auditory memories formed early in development. Experiments on a wide variety of songbird specie's suggest that the formation and lability of these auditory memories, in turn, depend on auditory predispositions that stimulate learning when a juvenile hears relevant, species-typical sounds. We review evidence that variation in key features of these auditory predispositions are determined by variation in genes underlying the development of the auditory system. We argue that increased investigation of the neuronal basis of auditory predispositions expressed early in life in conibination with modem comparative genomic approaches may provide insights into the evolution of vocal learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 11, no 8, 20150155
Keyword [en]
auditory predispositions, bird song, memory formation, perceptual biases, songbirds, vocal learning
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267506DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0155ISI: 000362798100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-267506DiVA: diva2:873695
Available from: 2015-11-24 Created: 2015-11-24 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved

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Wheatcroft, DavidQvarnström, Anna

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