Alternative MethodsConventional Methods

Songbird brain provides insight into human behavior
May 30, 2018

Sheila Rose
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time less than 1 minute

A research from UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute shows a bird’s tune can be changed – to the syllable – by activating and deactivating a neuronal pathway in charge of assisting the mind determine whether a vocalization is performed properly. Previous study has proven that when a tune is done without perceived malfunction, certain neurons release dopamine into brain regions involved in motor control. The brand new study proves that by simply activating and controlling those neurons, scientists could prompt the birds to alter certain syllables in future performances.

“The results show unexpected precision in how these signals can guide the refinement of vocalizations. We expect this pathway plays a similar role in how people learn and adjust their speech,” stated Dr. Todd Roberts, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience plus also a Thomas O. Hicks Scholar at Medical Research.

The study printed in Neuron centered on the ventral tegmental area (VTA), an essential part of the brain’s reward system that reinforces behaviours. Scientists from the Roberts laboratory used optogenetic procedures to restrain the VTA neurons in zebra finches as they practiced their tune.

The discovery is the newest in a series of findings from Dr. Roberts’ team identified a system of neurons which plays a very important role in studying vocalizations by helping communication between sensory and motor areas of the mind. His laboratory is also leading an ongoing study funded by the national BRAIN Initiative research program.

Journal Reference:

  1. Lei Xiao, Gaurav Chattree, Francisco Garcia Oscos, Mou Cao, Matthew J. Wanat, Todd F. Roberts. A Basal Ganglia Circuit Sufficient to Guide Birdsong Learning. Neuron, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.02.020

Leave your comments / questions for this practitioner

To write a comment please

Related Articles

View All
9 min.
Neuromodulation Technology
May 21 2021
Tune up your brain to acquire higher levels of Consciousness

Tune up your brain to acquire higher levels of Consciousness

By, Johann Strerath
May 21st, 2021

In my last article I wrote about the components of the soul, which include the unconscious mind, the conscious mind, the intellect, and the actions. These fo…

Johann Strerath
2 min.
Neuromodulation Technology
Mar 29 2018
Scientists Successfully Tune the Brain to Alleviate Pain

Scientists at The University of Manchester have shown for the first time that if the brain is ‘tuned-in’ to a particular frequency, pain can be alleviated.

Chronic pain — pain which lasts for more than six months — is a real problem for many people, with…

Vivian Adkins
19 min.
Neuromodulation Technology
Feb 4 2021
What's coming after virtual reality?

In 1999, The Matrix introduced your neighbor, your dad, and pretty much every hacky-sacking college kid in the country to the idea that the real world around us … might not be so real.

In the film, our trenchcoated protagonist Neo discovers that the worl…

Demi Powell
9 min.
Neuromodulation Technology
May 14 2021
How does the Soul interconnect with the Brain and the Body?

How does the Soul interconnect with the Brain and the Body?

By Johann Strerath – May 9th, 2021

Despite my overall knowledge and studies in Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis, there is a deep part of my inner self, which involves the passion that I have for…

Johann Strerath