ancom_lec22 - Nov 10, 2010 PSY 3364 Animal Communication...

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1 PSY 3364 Animal Communication Nov 10, 2010 “The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language, for all members of the same species utter the same instinctive cries expressive of their emotions; and all the kinds that have the power of singing exert this power instinctively; but the actual song …is learnt from their parents or foster-parents These sounds are their parents or foster parents. These sounds … are no more innate than language is in man. The first attempts to sing may be compared to the imperfect endeavour in a child to babble.” Charles Darwin (1871:i:55) Memory-based learning (10-50 days) Species-specific song is heard Template matched to song No song output Internal template Action-based learning (150-200 days) Song output Hears own song Song matched to template Song crystallization Stages in song development: white-crowned sparrow Memory-based learning – During the memorization phase (10-50 days of age) young male white-crowned sparrows listen passively to species-specific songs without responding. • Hearing the species-specific song is essential for normal song production in adulthood. Stages in song development: white-crowned sparrow Action-based learning: Later, during the “plastic song” stage (150-200 days) the male bird improvises and produces many variants of the song. Song crystallization involves selective attrition , dropping components of the song that do not match the dialect and/or the song patterns of neighboring birds. Song template • Young birds deprived of the experience of hearing their species-specific song develop a distorted song (although some aspects of the normal song are present). • Either tape tutors or live tutors provide the auditory input needed for normal song.
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2 Song template • White-crowned sparrows deafened after the song memorization stage never develop normal song (Konishi, 1965). They must hear themselves sing in order to develop a crystallized version of the song they experienced as nestlings. Song template Conclusion : Translating the memorized song into a motor program involves ongoing comparison between an internalized template of the song and the auditory feedback from the bird’s own voice. Species differences in song development Open-ended learners : new song patterns are developed beyond the first year. Typically new songs are developed at the • Typically, new songs are developed at the beginning of a new nesting season. Examples: Canary, Eurasian starling Species differences in song development Age-limited or sensitive period learners : Song memorization is limited to the first year of life; no new songs are acquired in year of life; no new songs are acquired in adulthood. Examples: Zebra Finch, White- crowned Sparrow. Auditory feedback
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ancom_lec22 - Nov 10, 2010 PSY 3364 Animal Communication...

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