Michale Fee (MIT)
Neuroscience Seminar Series
Animal vocalizations provide a marvelous example of these phenomena, and we are using the songbird as an experimental system to explore detailed models of neural sequence generation. Most songbirds, such as the zebra finch, produce a stereotyped pattern of acoustic signals with structure and modulation over a wide range of time-scales, from milliseconds to several seconds (Figure 1). Another remarkable aspect of this behavior is that the specific acoustic pattern produced by a songbird is learned, rather than being innately controlled: Vocalizations are learned from the parents through a series of well-defined stages. Moreover, avian brain areas involved in song learning are closely homologous to mammalian brain areas involved in motor learning. Thus, the song control system may have a great deal to teach us about general principles of sequence generation and learning in the vertebrate brain.
A Model of Basal Ganglia Function, Inspired by the Songbird
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