Neural correlates of learned song in the avian forebrain: simultaneous representation of self and others.
Songbirds are extraordinary vocalists and sensitive listeners, singing to communicate identity, engage other birds in acoustical combat, and attract mates. These processes involve auditory plasticity in that birds rapidly learn to discriminate novel from familiar songs. Songbirds also are one of the few non-human animals that use auditory feedback to learn their vocalizations, thus auditory -- vocal interactions are likely to be important to vocal learning. Recent advances strengthen the connection between song recognition and processing of birdsong in the auditory telencephalon. New insights also have emerged into the mechanisms underlying the 'gating' of auditory responses and the emergence of highly selective responses, two processes that could facilitate auditory feedback important to song learning.
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