The development of stimulus-specific auditory responses requires song exposure in male but not female zebra finches

Kristen K. Maul, Henning U. Voss, Lucas C. Parra, Delanthi Salgado-Commissariat, Douglas Ballon, Ofer Tchernichovski, Santosh A. Helekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Juvenile male zebra finches develop their song by imitation. Females do not sing but are attracted to males' songs. With functional magnetic resonance imaging and event-related potentials we tested how early auditory experience shapes responses in the auditory forebrain of the adult bird. Adult male birds kept in isolation over the sensitive period for song learning showed no consistency in auditory responses to conspecific songs, calls, and syllables. Thirty seconds of song playback each day over development, which is sufficient to induce song imitation, was also sufficient to shape stimulus-specific responses. Strikingly, adult females kept in isolation over development showed responses similar to those of males that were exposed to songs. We suggest that early auditory experience with songs may be required to tune perception toward conspecific songs in males, whereas in females song selectivity develops even without prior exposure to song.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-40
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Neurobiology
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Auditory forebrain
  • Auditory responses
  • Sensitive period
  • Sensory
  • Song learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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