Author(s): Kirn JR
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Abstract Song learning, maintenance and production require coordinated activity across multiple auditory, sensory-motor, and neuromuscular structures. Telencephalic components of the sensory-motor circuitry are unique to avian species that engage in song learning. The song system shows protracted development that begins prior to hatching but continues well into adulthood. The staggered developmental timetable for construction of the song system provides clues of subsystems involved in specific stages of song learning and maintenance. Progressive events, including neurogenesis and song system growth, as well as regressive events such as apoptosis and synapse elimination, occur during periods of song learning and the transitions between variable and stereotyped song during both development and adulthood. There is clear evidence that gonadal steroids influence the development of song attributes and shape the underlying neural circuitry. Some aspects of song system development are influenced by sensory, motor and social experience, while other aspects of neural development appear to be experience-independent. Although there are species differences in the extent to which song learning continues into adulthood, growing evidence suggests that despite differences in learning trajectories, adult refinement of song motor control and song maintenance can require remarkable behavioral and neural flexibility reminiscent of sensory-motor learning. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Brain Lang
and referenced in International Journal of Swarm Intelligence and Evolutionary Computation