Neural Analysis of Juvenile Songbirds : Analysis of context dependent change in the trial-by-trial variability of spiking activity recorded from song birds
Sammanfattning: Previous studies have shown that it is possible for juvenile songbirds to learn songs through listening to prerecorded songs played back to them. What is not known however, is how this will differ from normal learning, both on neural level as well as on the bird as whole. In this project we have taken data from playback experiments and attempted to measure the differences in neuron spiking activity across two different contexts. Firstly, when the bird is only listening to playback recordings and secondly when the bird is listening to playback recordings on the same day as listening to a live tutor. We analysed the spiking activity with several different methods in order to establish a distinction between these contexts that could be seen across birds and across trials. The methods include analysing joint spiking events as binary spike trains, the Fano factor across trials as well as the variability of the spike rate. Our hypothesis was that the birds would learn more effectively on days when exposed to a live tutor, therefore, the playback days would show much higher and much more varied spiking data. From our results we found many cases when this hypothesis is true. However, it does not hold true for each of the birds, as some are offered similar results in either context. Therefore we believe that further study would be required to get conclusive results. Although, our results tend to favour the tutoring days it is only suggestive that this shows evidence of better learning.
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