Plasticity of acoustic preferences in female songbirds

Vocal communication requires proper interpretation of vocal signals which can depend not only on the content of the signal, but also on an individual’s experiences. My lab investigates how experience, in particular auditory and social experience, shapes auditory perception and preference (e.g., Chen et al., Proc. Royal Soc. B, 2017). We study this in the zebra finch, a species in which females use the learned songs produced by males to recognize individuals and select mates. I will discuss recent data on the behavioral and neural consequences of manipulations of auditory and social experiences throughout the lifespan.