Songbirds use their songs and calls to communicate in social and reproductive contexts. They learn to make these sounds through a process of vocal imitation that has much in common with human speech acquisition. Very few animals are capable of this form of behavioral learning. It involves auditory discrimination, auditory memory and sensorimotor learning. We can study the brain mechanisms of each of these processes, because the relevant brain pathways have been identified in songbirds. Experiments in the laboratory involve a range of techniques from behavioral observations and sound processing to neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. Opportunities exist for interested students to participate in ongoing projects if they can make a significant time commitment.


Prerequisite: Physiological Psychology (Psych 313) or Comparative Psychology (Psych 315) are preferred, but may not be required. Facility with PC computers is very helpful. Interested students please send (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) a brief description of background relevant to the research, including a list of related courses taken, and a statement of long-range educational and career goals.