Navigation Links
Songbirds turn on and tune up
Date:6/26/2013

Bullfinches learn from human teachers to sing melodies accurately, according to a new study by the late Nicolai Jrgen and researchers from the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. Their analysis of human melody singing in bullfinches gives insights into the songbirds' brain processes. The work is published online in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.

Music performance is considered to be one of the most complex and demanding cognitive challenges that the human mind can undertake. Melody singing requires precise timing of several organized actions as well as accurate control of different pitches and durations of consecutive notes.

The songs of free-living bullfinches are soft and contain syllables that are similar to the whistled notes of human melodies. Teaching birds to imitate human melodies was a popular hobby in the 18th and 19th centuries and the bullfinch was the favorite species.

Using historical data recorded for 15 bullfinches, hand-raised by Jrgen Nicolai between 1967-1975, the researchers studied whether the bullfinches memorized and recalled the note sequence of the melodies in smaller subunits, as humans do, (in chunks or 'modules') or in their entirety, as a linear chain, which is much simpler. The researchers also analyzed the accuracy of the bullfinch's choices and how a bird continues to sing after the human partner pauses. They focused on whether the bird chooses the right note sequence at the right time so-called alternate singing.

When birds sing solo, they do not retrieve the learned melody as a coherent unit, but as modules, containing much smaller sub-sequences of 4-12 notes. The researchers investigated the cognitive processes that allow the bullfinch to continue singing the correct melody part when its human partner stops. They found evidence that as soon as the human starts whistling again, the birds can match the note sequence they hear to the memorized tune in their brain. They anticipate singing the consecutive part of the learned melody and are able to vocalize it at the right time when the human partner stops whistling.

The authors conclude: "Bullfinches can cope with the complex and demanding cognitive challenges of perceiving a human melody in its rhythmic and melodic complexities and learn to sing it accurately."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sophia Grein
sophia.grein@springer.com
49-622-148-78414
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Songbirds learning hub in brain offers insight into motor control
2. Restoring streamside forests helps songbirds survive the winter in Californias Central Valley
3. Its a bird, not a plane: York U study finds migrating songbirds depart on time
4. Doing the math for how songbirds learn to sing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/22/2016)... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ) ... "Global Biometrics Market in Retail Sector 2016-2020" ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ) has announced the ... in Retail Sector 2016-2020" report to ... and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ) has announced ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... , Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua Inc., ... that simplifies the use and access of ubiquitous ... go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber initiatives ... integrating the latest proven technology solutions," said ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... Jan. 11, 2016  higi, the leading retail ... retail locations, web and mobile, today announced it ... from existing investors. --> ... to further innovate higi,s health platform – its ... portal – including expanding services and programs to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization ... at the 18 th Annual BIO CEO & ... a.m. EST in New York, NY . ... will provide an update on the ongoing clinical trial of ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" ... provider of biopharmaceutical products in China ... board of directors received on February 4, 2016 a ... a consortium comprised of PKU V-Ming ( Shanghai ... Ltd., CICC Qianhai Development ( Shenzhen ) ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016   ViaCyte, ... with the first pluripotent stem cell-derived islet replacement ... in clinical-stage development, today announced that ViaCyte and ... Companies of Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to ... into ViaCyte.  The agreement provides ViaCyte with an ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... and HOLLISTON, Mass., Feb. 3, 2016 Harvard ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for ... today announced that CEO Jim McGorry , ... Investor Conference on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 ... York City . HART,s presentation will be ...
Breaking Biology Technology: