Grandmother neurons in birds?

Mike Maxwell NOmaxwellSpam at ldc.upenn.edu
Wed Aug 13 07:36:30 EST 2003


>From an article at Science Daily
(http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030811071429.htm, based on a U
of Chicago Medical Center press release at
http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2003/20030806-starling.html):

    Researchers in a University of Chicago lab are peering
    inside the minds of European starlings to find out how
    they recognize songs...

    To examine the neural mechanisms associated with
    auditory memory, Gentner and Margoliash measured
    the electrical impulses from single nerve cells in the
    auditory area of the bird's brain known as cmHV ? an
    area analogous to the higher-order, secondary auditory
    cortex in humans ? in starlings trained to recognize
    several songs.

    The researchers recorded the response of each neuron
    to songs the birds had learned to recognize, to unfamiliar
    songs the birds had never heard before and to synthetic
    sounds such as white noise. As a population, the cells
    responded much more strongly to the songs the birds
    had learned to recognize than to any of the other sounds.
    Individually, a majority of the cells responded to only one
    song, and almost all (93 percent) of these cells responded
    to one of the songs the bird had learned to recognize.
    After examining the data even more closely, they found
    that many of these cells only responded to specific
    motifs in a familiar song.

Sounds like grandmother neurons!

    Mike Maxwell
    NoMikeSpam at ldc.upenn.edu





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