Social animals must learn during development how to integrate successfully into their group. In vocal learners such as songbirds and humans, the development of vocal communication is initially guided by social interactions with the parents. Later on, vocal development is further shaped through interactions with peers and by attending to the consequences of others interacting. It is difficult to assess, however, how social forces combine to shape the outcomes of vocal development. We first review technical advances that make it possible to track social influences on vocal development in songbirds. We then outline methods for simulating the social environment of vocal learning. Such virtual environments would present birds with interactive scenarios in order to directly assess social influences over developmental time scales.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Behavioral Neuroscience