Department of Neurobiology & Behavior
Male songbirds turn off their self-evaluation systems when they sing to females
Attending to mistakes while practicing alone provides opportunities for learning1, 2, but self-evaluation during audience-directed performance could distract from ongoing execution3. It remains unknown how animals switch between practice and performance modes, and how evaluation systems process errors across distinct performance contexts. We recorded from striatal-projecting dopamine (DA) neurons as male songbirds transitioned from singing alone to singing female-directed courtship song. In the presence of the female, singing-related performance error signals were reduced or gated off and DA neurons were instead phasically activated by female vocalizations. Mesostriatal DA neurons can thus dynamically change their tuning with changes in social context.
A pizza lunch will be served at 11:45am. The seminar will begin at 12:00pm.