CCN meeting | Sanne Moorman (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

21-03-2023 from 15:00 to 16:00
Henri Dunantlaan 2, Leslokaal 4.3 &

CCN meeting | Sanne Moorman (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), invited by Frederick Verbruggen

Brain mechanisms for vocal learning and memory

Human infants typically acquire speech through auditory-vocal interactions. While most animals do not learn their vocalizations this way, songbirds, such as zebra finches, also learn their songs by using auditory representations of a model song for sensorimotor learning. In both humans and songbirds, auditory memorization takes place during a sensitive phase early in development, followed by a partially overlapping phase of vocal practice (babbling). Humans and songbirds both depend on sensory feedback to shape their vocalizations during the initial acquisition phase, and then continue to monitor, evaluate, and update their vocal performance in adulthood. Even though mammalian and avian brains are organized differently, the brain circuits for perception and production of learned vocalizations are analogous, and in some cases also homologous. I will discuss what we know about the neural basis of auditory-vocal memories in zebra finches, including lateralization. I will introduce my approach to studying the neural mechanisms for vocal learning and memory using a combination of behavioral analyses and in vivo calcium imaging of neural activity.