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Behav Processes. 2006 Jun 1;72(3):265-72. Epub 2006 Mar 7.

Rationale and methodology for testing auditory cognition in songbirds.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Centre for Neuroscience, P217 Biological Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta., Canada T6G 2E9. csturdy@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Songbirds, and in particular zebra finches, present a wonderful opportunity to study cognition in species that have evolved specialized abilities and brain structures for auditory cognition. The authors describe the rationale, methods, and apparatus used to test the auditory perceptual and cognitive abilities of songbirds. They have developed an operant conditioning system for conducting discrimination experiments simultaneously with several songbirds. The system uses specialized single-board computers, standard personal computers, CD-ROMs, and custom-written software to present stimuli, control training, and record responses. Also, the authors describe software to produce high-quality synthesized and naturally occurring acoustic stimuli for use in studies of auditory cognition. Typical results from a challenging frequency-range discrimination are included.

PMID:
16616437
DOI:
10.1016/j.beproc.2006.03.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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