Bird brains show how trial and error may contribute to learning

The adult male zebra finch knows only one scratchy tune learned in its youth, which it performs repeatedly and intensely when females are listening. But occasionally, the finch might improvise, experimenting with a slower, more sultry variation or emphasizing different notes.

Neurobiologists studying the finch now say the improvisation arises from a component of a crucial learning circuit in a section of the forebrain that seems to generate the trial and error necessary to master sophisticated motor skills, such as singing in birds or speech and sports in humans.

"It means this part of the brain is important for instructing or allowing changes in the song," said Mimi Kao, first author of a paper in the February 10, 2005, issue of the journal Nature that demonstrates how the region modulates bird song in real time. Kao, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) predoctoral fellow, is in the final months of her doctoral training in the laboratory of co-author Allison Doupe at the University of California, San Francisco's Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience.

A similar brain pathway in humans may explain how children learn to talk by listening to themselves and others, and how adults learn and hone new motor skills, such as tennis. The process relies on feedback about what works and what doesn't, also called experience-dependent or performance-based learning.

"That all requires paying attention to how we're doing, experimenting with different things, and gradually getting better," said senior author Michael Brainard, assistant professor of physiology at UCSF, whose lab is funded in part by a grant from HHMI. "It makes sense that one part of the brain has as part of its job introducing that kind of variability."

Kao began with an experiment to stimulate the region of the forebrain called LMAN (lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium). In the avian brain, LMAN receives input about complex movements from the b

Contact: Jennifer Donovan
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Virtual mouse brains now available online
2. Modern brains have an ancient core
3. Different approach needed to protect brains of premature infants
4. 2 brains -- 1 thought
5. Unraveling where chimp and human brains diverge
6. Scientists identify 36 genes, 100 neuropeptides in honey bee brains
7. Carnegie Mellon uses new imaging technique to discover differences in brains of people with autism
8. Oxygen deprived brains repaired and saved
9. Velvet worm brains reveal secret sisterhood with spiders
10. Bird brains shrink from exposure to contaminants
11. Carnegie Mellon researchers discover key deficiencies in brains of people with autism

Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/4/2015)... York , November 4, 2015 ... a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Home ... Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global home ... US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market is estimated ... forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising security needs ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) ... Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the ... and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has ... --> --> Synthetic biology ... potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... BOSTON , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health ... phenomena driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, ... his new book, The Internet of Healthy ... apps, sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice ... model of health care delivery, moving care from the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  An interventional radiology technique shows promise ... preliminary results of a study being presented today at the ... America (RSNA). --> ... decades by interventional radiologists as a way to stop bleeding ... as a means of treating obesity is new. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Epigenetics Corp. ("Zenith" or the "Company") today ... to its Board of Directors to replace Dr. ... wealth of experience as co-founder of Resverlogix, with expertise in ... --> --> Dr. Wong remarked, "I am ... Zenith,s long standing expertise in epigenetics and the advanced stage ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... TapImmune, Inc. (TPIV), a ... peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics and vaccines for the treatment ... be presenting at the 8 th Annual LD ... PM PT. Dr. John N. Bonfiglio a ... the presentation and will join TapImmune management in meeting ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: NWBO ) ("NW Bio"), ... for solid tumor cancers, announced today that the Board ... the Company welcomes Neil Woodford,s call for ... internet report on NW Bio.  The Company,s Board is ... stated, "We agree with Mr. Woodford that, at ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: