ProjectNeuronal control of syllable repetition in birdsong

Basic data

Neuronal control of syllable repetition in birdsong
01/07/2024 to 30/06/2027
Abstract / short description:
Many complex behaviors such as speech, dance or writing are composed of ordered sequences of simpler motor elements, and the flexible control of sequential behavior has broad implications for cognition and motor function. Birdsong is an important model for skilled motor production, because it is composed of ordered sequences of individual syllables. However, how the well-studied neural circuits for birdsong production control the concatenation of individual syllables into variable sequences remains poorly understood. Here, I propose to focus on one specific example of variable sequencing: syllable repetition, where the same syllable type is repeated a variable number of times before moving on to the next syllable type. We will use a combination of quantitative analysis of natural behavior, behavioral experiments, electrophysiological recordings and microstimulation in Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica) to probe the neuronal circuits producing syllable repetition. Understanding how auditory feedback, premotor activity, learning and interhemispheric coordination influence syllable repetition in birdsong may reveal general principles for the neuronal control of complex sequential behavior. This will shed light on the question how individual motor gestures are organized into sequences and how the nervous system selects between different possible courses of action.

Involved staff


Institute of Neurobiology
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Institute of Neurobiology
Department of Biology
Faculty of Science


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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