5aPP3. Auditory perception and plasticity in the avian auditory system.

Session: Friday Morning, June 20

Author: Robert J. Dooling
Location: Dept. of Psych., Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, dooling@bss3.umd.edu
Author: Brenda M. Ryals
Location: James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA 22807


Auditory perception plays a crucial role in a variety of avian behaviors including individual and species recognition, mate selection, territorial defense, song learning, and predator detection. Because the premium on hearing well is high, birds provide a window on the evolution and adaptation of auditory systems to different environments. The auditory perceptual capabilities of the avian auditory system are reviewed with special emphasis on the discrimination, recognition, and learning of complex sounds including species-specific vocalizations. These processes in birds are no where more plastic than when they subserve vocal development and learning. Because birds regenerate hair cells in the inner ear following damage, they also provide a unique opportunity to examine the return of auditory perception and the precision of vocal production and vocal learning following replacement of the auditory epithelium in an adult organism. Results of these studies are relevant to the perception and learning of speech sounds in humans and to the application of auditory prosthetic devices in humans. [Work supported by NIH Grant Nos. DC-00198 and MH-00982 to RJD and DC-01372 to RJD and BMR.]

ASA 133rd meeting - Penn State, June 1997