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Am Psychol. 1998 Jan;53(1):37-58.


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Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD21218-2686, USA. or


Vocalizations used by birds for territory defense, mate attraction, or both are often referred to as a given species' song. Birdsong refers to the often complex vocalizations produced most frequently by males of species that are members of the songbird order (passeriformes). Unlike most species-typical vocalizations produced by nonhuman animals, some songbird vocalizations are learned. Studies of birdsong learning, production, and perception address issues of fundamental interest to psychologists and others interested in behavior and its physiological underpinnings and provide the basis for this review. This article highlights recent advances in knowledge as illustrations of the utility of birdsong as an arena for significant new developments in experimental psychology and behavioral neuroscience.

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