Some kinds of neurons are spontaneously recruited in the intact, healthy adult brain, but the variables that affect their survival are not always clear.Weshow that in caudal nidopallium of adult male zebra finches, the rostrocaudal position of newly recruited neurons, their age (1 vs 3 months), and the nature of social change (complex vs simple) after the neurons were born affect their survival. Greater social complexity promoted the survival of younger new neurons, and the demise of older ones; a less marked social change promoted the survival of older new neurons. These effects were position dependent. We suggest that functional correlations between new neuron recruitment/survival and its inferred benefit to the animal might be better perceived when taking into account the position of cells, their age at the time of life style changes, and the nature and magnitude of the life style change.
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