song

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The #3 post so far this year explored how zebra finches reward themselves for singing well: Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neurons…

Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neurons in the brain of zebra finches do in fact decrease dopamine signals when the birds hear an…

Learning new songs

New research shows that premotor neurons are activated in the brains of adolescent male zebra finches whenever a young bird hears their father (a tutor) sing. These are the same neurons that are usually activated in anticipation of movement. What is special about this, is that as the birds learned new songs or pieces of new songs,…

How to attract a female

A female mouse that is. You may recall a post from several years ago when we talked about how rats seem to “laugh” when tickled. Back in April 2015 researchers at Duke University presented a video that showed male mice “singing” a tune after either smelling the urine of a female mouse or being in her presence.…