Frédéric Theunissen, University of Berkeley: Auditory memories and vocal communication in zebra finches

Talk Frédéric Theunissen, Seewiesen

  • Datum: 26.03.2020
  • Uhrzeit: 13:00 - 14:00
  • Vortragender: Prof. Dr. Frédéric Theunissen
  • University of Berkeley
  • Ort: Seewiesen
  • Raum: Seminar Room House 4, Tea & Coffee 12:30h
  • Gastgeber: Prof. Dr. Manfred Gahr
  • Kontakt: gahr@orn.mpg.de
<i>Frédéric Theunissen, University of Berkeley:</i> Auditory memories and vocal communication in zebra finches
Songbirds need to form auditory memories not only of the tutor song for vocal imitation but also of many songs and calls of conspecifics for individual recognition. We know that songs and calls have idiosyncratic acoustical features and that birds can use these features to recognize specific individuals. In recent work, we have tested the memory capacity of zebra finches for caller ID based on songs and calls and found it to be impressively large: within one-week zebra finches are capable of recognizing ~16 individuals based on their song or distance call. The upper memory capacity of songbirds might actually be much higher, but it is difficult to assess in a laboratory experiment. Combining brain lesions and neurophysiological recordings, we have assessed the role of secondary auditory pallial areas NCM and CMM in memory formation and storage. We found that NCM plays an important role in these perceptual tasks. In future work, we plan on determining to what extend the auditory memories used for individual recognition in communication overlap with the auditory memories that songbirds use for vocal imitation.
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