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Brain, Perception, MemoryAdvances in Cognitive Neuroscience$
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Johan J. Bolhuis

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524823

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524823.001.0001

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The neural basis of avian song learning and perception

The neural basis of avian song learning and perception

(p.113) 7 The neural basis of avian song learning and perception
Brain, Perception, Memory

David F. Clayton

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the latest developments in the study of the neural mechanisms of bird song learning. Songbirds need to learn their song from an adult tutor when they are young. Until recently, it was thought that bird song was subserved by two forebrain circuits connecting a number of ‘song control nuclei’. Recently, however, the introduction of the immediate early gene (IEG) technique has radically changed the field. IEGs are activated very soon after a stimulus impinges upon the cell. Expression of IEGs can be used as a marker for neuronal activation and these analytical techniques are now widely used tools in cognitive neuroscience. The chapter suggests that different parts of the songbird brain are involved in motor control, perception, and template matching of song. As yet, the recent evidence suggests that notably the caudal parts of the neostriatum are a likely site of storage of the tutor song.

Keywords:   neural mechanisms, song control nuclei, immediate early gene, cognitive neuroscience, motor control, perception

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