How well a songbird learns a song appears to depend on the formation of a robust auditory template of its tutor's song. Using functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging we examine auditory responses in two groups of zebra finches that differ in the type of song they sing after being tutored by birds producing stuttering-like syllable repetitions in their songs. We find that birds that learn to produce the stuttered syntax show attenuated blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses to tutor's song, and more pronounced responses to conspecific song primarily in the auditory area field L of the avian forebrain, when compared to birds that produce normal song. These findings are consistent with the presence of a sensory song template critical for song learning in auditory areas of the zebra finch forebrain. In addition, they suggest a relationship between an altered response related to familiarity and/or saliency of song stimuli and the production of variant songs with stuttered syllables.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)