Dynamics of the vocal imitation process: How a zebra finch learns its song

Tchernichovski, O., Mitra, P. P., Lints, T., Nottebohm, F. (2001) Dynamics of the vocal imitation process: How a zebra finch learns its song. Science, 291 (5513). pp. 2564-2569. ISSN 00368075 (ISSN)

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11283361
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058522


Song imitation in birds provides good material for studying the basic biology of vocal learning. Techniques were developed for inducing the rapid onset of song imitation in young zebra finches and for tracking trajectories of vocal change over a 7-week period until a match to a model song was achieved. Exposure to a model song induced the prompt generation of repeated structured sounds (prototypes) followed by a slow transition from repetitive to serial delivery of syllables. Tracking this transition revealed two phenomena: (i) Imitations of dissimilar sounds can emerge from successive renditions of the same prototype, and (ii) developmental trajectories for some sounds followed paths of increasing acoustic mismatch until an abrupt correction occurred by period doubling. These dynamics are likely to reflect underlying neural and articulatory constraints on the production and imitation of sounds.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Acoustic waves Developmental trajectories Speech analysis imitation learning songbird vocalization acoustics animal experiment article bird male model newborn nonhuman priority journal singing sound Acoustic Stimulation Animals Imitative Behavior Music Neurons Pitch Perception Songbirds Time Factors Vocalization, Animal Animalia Aves Fringillidae Passeri Taeniopygia guttata
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior > learning
organism description > animal behavior > song
organism description > animal > bird > Zebra Finch
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Mitra lab
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: 2001
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2012 18:11
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 21:10
Related URLs:
URI: https://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/25890

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