BMC Neuroscience is calling for submissions to our Collection on the behavioral neuroscience of vocal learning.
Vocal learning, a rare cognitive skill exhibited by select species, encompasses the acquisition, production, and modification of vocalizations through imitation and social interaction. The development of this multifaceted process involves an intricate interplay of neural circuits, molecular mechanisms, hormone circulation, genetic predispositions, and environmental influences affecting certain organisms. While significant strides have been made in demystifying the neural mechanisms underlying vocal learning, there still exist numerous areas of inquiry that hold great potential for further exploration.
Promising areas of study include the interplay between genetic factors, hormone levels, and environmental influences in vocal learning skill acquisition, as well as the ways in which each might affect individual or species-specific variations in vocal learning abilities. Advances in neuroimaging techniques have also aided in our understanding of this phenomenon and enabled researchers to map casual relationships between specific brain regions and vocal behaviors. Vocal learning research has even expanded into translational work on neurodevelopmental disorders, providing insights on potential interventions for communication-related disorders.
In order to gain a better understanding of the minds of mammals and birds and the neurogenesis of vocal neurons, continued neuroethological research is essential. This Collection aims to further this mission.
Topics of interest to this Collection include, but are not limited to:
• Brain connectivity and network dynamics in vocal learning
• Interplay of neurogenetic, environmental, and hormonal factors on the development of vocal learning skills
• Neural mechanisms of vocal learning in songbirds and other avian species, from gene expression to circuit-level plasticity
• Neural representation of songs and/or vocalizations across diverse species
• Molecular and cellular specializations that enable vocal learning and vocal motor control
• Effects of sex hormones on the neurogenesis of vocal motor neural circuits and on the response of auditory forebrain circuits
• Evolutionary implications of vocal learning, i.e., how vocal learning contributes to mate choice, social dynamics, and species diversification
• Cross-disciplinary research into vocal learning
• Developments in our understanding of the neural bases of vocal learning in mammalian species
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