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Vocal tuning and sequencing in songbirds and in humans

English title Vocal tuning and sequencing in songbirds and in humans
Applicant Hahnloser Richard
Number 156976
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Neuroinformatik Universität Zürich Irchel und ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Start/End 01.02.2015 - 31.07.2018
Approved amount 690'785.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Information Technology

Keywords (5)

Fundamental Frequency; Voice; Hearing; Behavior; Learning

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Korrektur von Tonhöhe und Tonreihenfolge bei Singvögeln und Menschen
Lay summary

Junge Singvögel lernen, komplexe Gesangssequenzen mit großer Präzision zu imitieren. Diese Leistung erfordert die Fähigkeit, eine Gesangsvorlage im Gehirn zu speichern und die passenden Noten in der richtigen zeitlichen Reihenfolge wiederzugeben. Welche Algorithmen verwenden Singvögel, um diese Übereinstimmung zu erreichen? Insbesondere, wie erkennen und korrigieren sie Missverhältnisse in der Tonhöhe (Grundfrequenz)? Gibt es Parallelen zwischen Tonhöhenkorrektur bei Menschen und bei Singvögeln, und befolgen diese einfachen Prinzipien? Um Antworten auf diese Fragen zu erlangen führen wir neurophysiologische Experimente an Singvögeln und psychophysische Experimente an Menschen durch. Wir werden die erhaltenen Daten in Bezug auf eine wahrscheinlichkeitsbedingte Theorie der Tonhöhenverarbeitung auswerten.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 16.12.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Learning auditory discriminations from observation is efficient but less robust than learning from experience
Narula Gagan, Herbst Joshua A., Rychen Joerg, Hahnloser Richard H. R. (2018), Learning auditory discriminations from observation is efficient but less robust than learning from experience, in Nature Communications, 9(1), 3218-3218.
Songbirds work around computational complexity by learning song vocabulary independently of sequence.
Lipkind D, Hanuschkin A, Zai AT, Marcus GF, Tchernichovski O, Hahnloser RHR (2017), Songbirds work around computational complexity by learning song vocabulary independently of sequence., in Nature Communication, 8(1247), 1-11.
Bilateral neurotoxic lesions in NCM before tutoring onset do not prevent successful tutor song learning
Canopoli Alessandro, Zai Anja, Hahnloser Richard (2017), Bilateral neurotoxic lesions in NCM before tutoring onset do not prevent successful tutor song learning, in Matters, 1-5.
A lightweight feedback-controlled microdrive for chronic neural recordings
Jovalekic A, Cavé-Lopez S, Canopoli A, Ondracek J M, Nager A, Vyssotski A L, Hahnloser R H R (2017), A lightweight feedback-controlled microdrive for chronic neural recordings, in Journal of Neural Engineering, 14(2), 1-11.
A Bayesian Account of Vocal Adaptation to Pitch-Shifted Auditory Feedback
Hahnloser Richard H. R., Narula Gagan (2017), A Bayesian Account of Vocal Adaptation to Pitch-Shifted Auditory Feedback, in PLOS ONE, 12(1), e0169795-e0169795.
A Neural Code That Is Isometric to Vocal Output and Correlates with Its Sensory Consequences
Vyssotski Alexei L., Stepien Anna E., Keller Georg B., Hahnloser Richard H. R. (2016), A Neural Code That Is Isometric to Vocal Output and Correlates with Its Sensory Consequences, in PLOS Biology, 14(10), 1-21.
Rhythmic Continuous-Time Coding in the Songbird Analog of Vocal Motor Cortex
Lynch Galen F., Okubo Tatsuo S., Hanuschkin Alexander, Hahnloser Richard H.R., Fee Michale S. (2016), Rhythmic Continuous-Time Coding in the Songbird Analog of Vocal Motor Cortex, in Neuron, 90(4), 877-892.
Lesions of a higher auditory brain area during a sensorimotor period do not impair birdsong learning  
Canopoli Alessandro, Zai Anja, Hahnloser Richard (2016), Lesions of a higher auditory brain area during a sensorimotor period do not impair birdsong learning  , in Matters (Zürich), 1-5.
Character-level Chinese-English Translation through ASCII Encoding
Nikolov N, Hu Y, Tan X, Hahnloser RHR, Character-level Chinese-English Translation through ASCII Encoding, in WMT2018, BrusselsAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL), Stroudsburg, PA, USA.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dina Lipkind / Ofer Tchernichovski United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Nicolas Giret France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Jason Kerr Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Birdsong Meeting Talk given at a conference Generative models for birdsong production and learning 12.04.2018 Odense, Denmark Narula Gagan;
Swiss Society for Neuroscience Meeting Poster Tutor preference in juvenile zebra finches. 09.02.2018 Zurich, Switzerland Hahnloser Richard; Lee Juneseung; Queiros Guedes Rodrigues Diana Isabel;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
European Birdsong Meeting 27.05.2015 Capocaccia, Italy

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
127024 The roles of social context and sleep replay for vocal learning in a songbird 01.10.2010 Project funding

Abstract

Young songbirds learn to imitate complex vocal sequences with great precision. This feat requires the ability to memorize a song template and to precisely match the constituting individual notes in the correct temporal order. What algorithms do birds use to achieve this matching? In particular, how do they detect and correct for mismatch in the pitch (fundamental frequency) of their songs? Are there parallels between pitch correction in humans and in songbirds and do these obey some general principles? To provide answers to these questions we have designed neurophysiological experiments in songbirds and psychophysics experiments in humans. We will evaluate the data obtained in relation to a probabilistic theory of pitch processing we have begun to formulate.Our primary goal is to study how young birds use an internal song template to guide the development of their song motor program. We plan to make use of a recently introduced serial tutoring (ST) paradigm in which we expose young birds to a second sensory template after they master a first template. By introducing changes between the first and the second template in terms of both fundamental frequency (pitch) and syllable sequential order we are hoping to decipher the computational rules according to which birds can tune and sequence their songs. In addition to carefully inspecting the vocal trajectories that birds take to steer their songs away from the first template towards the second, we plan to study the neural mechanisms of this song learning by performing brain lesions and by recording from neurons while birds are listening to their tutors sing and while they are singing themselves. In addition, we plan to study pitch processing in humans in a simple psychophysics experiment in which we provide pitch-shifted feedback to speaking subjects. By analyzing how subjects adapt the pitch of their voice in this paradigm we can assess similarities/dissimilarities with pitch processing in birds and we can test for agreement/disagreement with our Bayesian theory of sensorimotor integration.
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