Vocal learning in songbirds
Nick, Theresa A. Brain-Computer Interfaces, DAQRI, Los Angeles, California.
- Learning phases
- Song system in the brain
- Critical period
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Why do babies babble? They are learning to speak. Speech is a complex motor (movement) skill that requires the coordination of many muscles to produce precise sounds that other humans can interpret. Although it is rare, vocal learning has also been reported in other animals, including songbirds, elephants, and dolphins. Scientists have used songbirds to study the learning of vocalizations and motor skills. Humans and songbirds share multiple similarities in vocal learning, such as dedicated brain pathways for the production of vocalizations and the existence of two distinct developmental learning phases. See also: Acoustic phonetics; Animal communication; Bioacoustics, animal; Linguistics; Phonetics; Phonoreception; Speech; Speech perception; Speech recognition
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