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Vocal communicators discriminate conspecific vocalizations from other sounds and recognize the vocalizations of individuals. To identify neural mechanisms for the discrimination of such natural sounds, we compared the linear spectro-temporal tuning properties of auditory midbrain and forebrain neurons in zebra finches with the statistics of natural sounds,(More)
Physiological studies in vocal animals such as songbirds indicate that vocalizations drive auditory neurons particularly well. But the neural mechanisms whereby vocalizations are encoded differently from other sounds in the auditory system are unknown. We used spectrotemporal receptive fields (STRFs) to study the neural encoding of song versus the encoding(More)
Male birds of age-limited song-learning species develop their full song repertoires in the first year of life. For this type of song learner, once song is stabilized in adulthood, it is highly stereotyped and stable over time. Traditionally, it has been believed that age-limited song learners do not depend on auditory feedback for the maintenance of adult(More)
The spectro-temporal receptive field (STRF) of an auditory neuron describes the linear relationship between the sound stimulus in a time-frequency representation and the neural response. Time-frequency representations of a sound in turn require a nonlinear operation on the sound pressure waveform and many different forms for this non-linear transformation(More)
Male Bengalese finches do not normally change their vocal patterns in adulthood; song is stereotyped and stable over time. Adult song maintenance requires auditory feedback. If adults are deafened, song will degrade within 1 week. We tested whether feedback of all sound frequencies is required for song maintenance. The avian basilar papilla is tonotopically(More)
Birds regenerate auditory hair cells when original hair cells are lost. Regenerated hair cells become innervated and restore hearing function. Functional recovery during hair cell regeneration is particularly interesting in animals that depend on hearing for vocal communication. Bengalese finches are songbirds that depend on auditory feedback for normal(More)
Understanding song perception and singing behavior in birds requires the study of auditory processing of complex sounds throughout the avian brain. We can divide the basics of auditory perception into two general processes: (1) encoding, the process whereby sound is transformed into neural activity and (2) decoding, the process whereby patterns of neural(More)
In the auditory system, the stimulus-response properties of single neurons are often described in terms of the spectrotemporal receptive field (STRF), a linear kernel relating the spectrogram of the sound stimulus to the instantaneous firing rate of the neuron. Several algorithms have been used to estimate STRFs from responses to natural stimuli; these(More)
Critical learning periods are common in vertebrate development. In many birds, song learning is limited by a critical period; juveniles copy songs from adult birds by forming memories of those songs during a restricted developmental period and then using auditory feedback to practice their own vocalizations. Adult songs are stable over time regardless of(More)
Auditory perception depends on the coding and organization of the information-bearing acoustic features of sounds by auditory neu-rons. We report here that auditory neurons can be classified into functional groups, each of which plays a specific role in extracting distinct complex sound features. We recorded the electrophysiological responses of single(More)