Colline Poirier1, Tiny Boumans1, Michiel Vellema1, Geert De Groof1, Marleen Verhoye1, Jacques Balthazart2, Annemie Van der Linden1
Song learning in songbirds shares a large number of features with human speech acquisition. The songbird brain is thus an excellent model to study the neural bases of vocal learning and complex sound processing. The aim of this spin-echo BOLD fMRI study was to investigate the role of noradrenalin in conspecific songs and birds own song perception. Depletion of noradrenergic inputs resulted in an enhanced differential activation by socially relevant auditory stimuli in the secondary auditory regions of the songbird brain. These results suggest that noradrenalin might play an inhibitory role in song discrimination.