Dual pathway architecture underlying vocal learning in songbirdsdécembre 2022 Directeur(s) de thèse : Arthur Leblois / Nicolas Rougier Résumé de thèse
Sensorimotor learning refers to the acquisition of motor skills by an individual, guided by sensory perception, for instance, learning to speak. Human speech acquisition is rather similar to vocal learning by songbirds. Hence, we use songbirds to study the neural circuitry underlying sensorimotor learning. We build computational models to explore the utility of parallel cortical and subcortical pathways that govern song acquisition, and investigate the interplay between functional and structural plasticity within this circuitry. Inspired from the vocal learning behaviour, we look at biologically plausible mechanisms to optimise sensorimotor learning. We investigate the neural correlates of reinforcement learning contributing to vocal learning by observing the neural activity in the song system of male zebra finches. By using both theoretical and experimental approaches of neuroscience, we hope to advance our understanding of vocal learning, and, in general, sensorimotor learning.