A Distributed Recurrent Network Contributes to Temporally Precise Vocalizations

Neuron. 2016 Aug 3;91(3):680-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.019. Epub 2016 Jul 7.


How do forebrain and brainstem circuits interact to produce temporally precise and reproducible behaviors? Birdsong is an elaborate, temporally precise, and stereotyped vocal behavior controlled by a network of forebrain and brainstem nuclei. An influential idea is that song premotor neurons in a forebrain nucleus (HVC) form a synaptic chain that dictates song timing in a top-down manner. Here we combine physiological, dynamical, and computational methods to show that song timing is not generated solely by a mechanism localized to HVC but instead is the product of a distributed and recurrent synaptic network spanning the forebrain and brainstem, of which HVC is a component.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Finches / physiology*
  • High Vocal Center / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Prosencephalon / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*