Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

An Adapting Auditory-motor Feedback Loop Can Contribute to Generating Vocal Repetition


Consecutive repetition of actions is common in behavioral sequences. Although integration of sensory feedback with internal motor programs is important for sequence generation, if and how feedback contributes to repetitive actions is poorly understood. Here we study how auditory feedback contributes to generating repetitive syllable sequences in songbirds. We propose that auditory signals provide positive feedback to ongoing motor commands, but this influence decays as feedback weakens from response adaptation during syllable repetitions. Computational models show that this mechanism explains repeat distributions observed in Bengalese finch song. We experimentally confirmed two predictions of this mechanism in Bengalese finches: removal of auditory feedback by deafening reduces syllable repetitions; and neural responses to auditory playback of repeated syllable sequences gradually adapt in sensory-motor nucleus HVC. Together, our results implicate a positive auditory-feedback loop with adaptation in generating repetitive vocalizations, and suggest sensory adaptation is important for feedback control of motor sequences.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View