Song development: In search of the error-signal

Deregnaucourt, S., Mitra, P. P., Feher, O., Maul, K. K., Lints, T. J., Tchernichovski, O. (2004) Song development: In search of the error-signal. In: Behavioral Neurobiology of Birdsong. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1016 . New York Acad Sciences, New York, pp. 364-376. ISBN 0077-8923

DOI: 10.1196/annals.1298.036


Song development provides an opportunity to study the mechanisms of vocal learning dynamically at molecular, cellular and systems levels, and across time scales ranging from minutes to months. To exploit these opportunities one needs to identify appropriate units, types and time scales of vocal change in nearly real time. The previous chapter by Tchernikovski et al. in this volume described techniques that make this research strategy feasible by allowing us to observe the song learning process through a "temporal microscope" with variable degrees of resolution. In this chapter we summarize some of the new observations and raise hypotheses about the learning strategy of the bird. We focus on inferences that can be drawn from behavioral observations to the nature and complexity of the instructive signal that guides the vocal change (error-signal). We examine two effects: i) the emergence of syllable types and ii) changes in features within a syllable type. We found that different features of the same syllable change during different and sometimes disjointed developmental windows. We discuss the possibility that song imitation is achieved by correcting partial errors, and that features of those partial errors change adaptively during development, perhaps concurrently with changes in perception and in motor proficiency. Those hypotheses can be best examined by across levels investigation, starting from identifying critical moments in song development and recording of articulatory dynamics and neural patterns when only a few features of specific syllables undergo rapid changes. Such investigation could relate behavioral events to brain mechanisms that guide song learning from moment-to-moment and across extended periods.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: song development vocal production auditory perception ZEBRA FINCH Zebra finch VOCAL IMITATION vocal imitation ASSOCIATIONAL MODEL associational model ANTERIOR FOREBRAIN anterior borebrain BIRDSONG birdsong VOCALIZATIONS vocalizations MECHANISMS mechanisms REPRESENTATION representation SELECTIVITY selectivity EXPERIENCE experience
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal behavior > song
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Mitra lab
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: 2004
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2012 17:12
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 17:47

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