Postdoc Yarden Cohen has a new paper in Nature entitled ‘Hidden neural states underlie canary song syntax’, is the result of research efforts by members of the Gardner-Otchy lab in the Biology department, members of CNS, Neurophotonics, and the Kotton lab at BU medical school. This work used miniaturized microscopes, developed in-house, to record neural activity in singing canaries and introduce a new model for the neural basis of complex behavior. The main finding is that neurons in the canary premotor cortex homologue encode past song phrases and transitions, carrying information relevant to future choice of phrases as ‘hidden states’ during song. This finding is a key property necessary for creating behavior with complex syntax like music, dance, and speech.

Posted 4 weeks ago on in Faculty News, News