The effect of social environment on singing behavior in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and its implication for neuronal recruitment

Einat Adar, Arnon Lotem, Anat Barnea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies found that complex social environment increases new neuronal recruitment in brains of adult male zebra finches, in comparison with exposure to a simple social environment. These experiments could not determine, however, whether this increase was due to greater amounts of auditory input (amount of auditory information the male is exposed to), or auditory output (amount of song it produces). To answer this question, we raised male zebra finches to adulthood in a controlled environment, and were then exposed them to either a single unfamiliar female (simple social environment) or to 45 unfamiliar zebra finches of both sexes (complex social environment). Their singing behavior was monitored in these new social environments. Birds which were exposed to a simple social environment sang significantly more than birds which were exposed to a complex social environment. This supports the hypothesis that increased neuronal recruitment in birds exposed to a complex social environment correlates with processing and storing of auditory input, and not with song produced by the bird.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-184
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume187
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was done with support that Anat Barnea received from The Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 481/04) and The Open University Research Fund. We would also like to thank the staff of the Meyer Segals Garden for Zoological Research at Tel-Aviv University for their help.

Keywords

  • Neuronal recruitment
  • Singing
  • Social environment
  • Songbird
  • Zebra finch

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