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Sarah Woolley: Neural mechanisms of preference in female songbird

My Session Status

11:00 AM, Thursday 28 Jun 2018 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Sarah Woolley 
Professor McGill University

Sarah Brosnan 
Georgia State University

Vocal communication signals are critical in social interactions across many species. In the zebra finch, a small, gregarious songbird, males produce learned vocal signals (‘songs’) during courtship interactions with females. Female zebra finches do not sing, but use songs to recognize individuals and select mates. Female song preferences are influenced by auditory and social experiences in development as well as adulthood. We still know little, however, about either the role of experience in shaping female preferences or the neural circuits involved in encoding song preferences. I will discuss recent data from my lab investigating the neural mechanisms of female song preferences and mating decisions and how they are modulated by social and auditory experience. The data will highlight the importance of developmental auditory experience and adult mating experience in tuning neural and behavioral responses to song as well as the role of midbrain dopaminergic activity allowing plasticity for these experiential changes through projections to the auditory cortex. 

Van Ruijssevelt, L., Chen, Y., von Eugen, K., Hamaide, J., De Groof, G., Verhoye, M., ... & Van der Linden, A. (2018). fMRI reveals a novel region for evaluating acoustic information for mate choice in a female songbirdCurrent Biology28(5), 711-721.

Chen, Y., Clark, O., & Woolley, S. C. (2017). Courtship song preferences in female zebra finches are shaped by developmental auditory experienceProc. R. Soc. B284(1855), 20170054.

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