Jonathan F. Prather

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Synaptic interactions between telencephalic neurons innervating descending motor or basal ganglia pathways are essential in the learning, planning, and execution of complex movements. Synaptic interactions within the songbird telencephalic nucleus HVC are implicated in motor and auditory activity associated with learned vocalizations. HVC contains(More)
Songbirds learn to sing by memorizing a tutor song that they then vocally mimic using auditory feedback. This developmental sequence suggests that brain areas that encode auditory memories communicate with brain areas for learned vocal control. In the songbird, the secondary auditory telencephalic region caudal mesopallium (CM) contains neurons that encode(More)
Long after a cut peripheral nerve reinnervates muscle and restores force production in adult cats, the muscle does not respond reflexively to stretch. Motivated by the likelihood that stretch areflexia is related to problems with sensing and controlling limb position after peripheral neuropathies, we sought to determine the underlying mechanism.(More)
Male songbirds use song to advertise their attractiveness as potential mates, and the properties of those songs have a powerful influence on female mate preferences. One idea is that males may exert themselves maximally in each song performance, consistent with female evaluation and formation of mate preferences being the primary contributors to mate(More)
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(More)
Learning and maintaining the sounds we use in vocal communication require accurate perception of the sounds we hear performed by others and feedback-dependent imitation of those sounds to produce our own vocalizations. Understanding how the central nervous system integrates auditory and vocal-motor information to enable communication is a fundamental goal(More)
Juveniles sometimes learn behaviors that they cease to express as adults. Whether the adult brain retains a record of experiences associated with behaviors performed transiently during development remains unclear. We addressed this issue by studying neural representations of song in swamp sparrows, a species in which juveniles learn and practice many more(More)
In the process of mate selection by female songbirds, male suitors advertise their quality through reproductive displays in which song plays an important role. Females evaluate the quality of each signal and the associated male, and the results of that evaluation guide expression of selective courtship displays. Some studies reveal broad agreement among(More)
Sensorimotor functions are restored by peripheral nerve regeneration with greater success following injuries that crush rather than sever the nerve. Better recovery following nerve crush is commonly attributed to superior reconnection of regenerating axons with their original peripheral targets. The present study was designed to estimate the fraction of(More)
Language as a computational cognitive mechanism appears to be unique to the human species. However, there are remarkable behavioral similarities between song learning in songbirds and speech acquisition in human infants that are absent in non-human primates. Here we review important neural parallels between birdsong and speech. In both cases there are(More)