Birds, babies learn how to vocalize in similar ways

John Kirn, professor of biology, professor and chair of neuroscience & behavior, recently spoke to McClatchy Newspapers about a new finding in his field of expertise–the neuroscience behind song learning and production in birds. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, found that birds use the left side of their brain for perceiving and producing song, just as humans do for speech.

“Showing left side dominance for auditory memories, which is very similar in humans, is novel,” said Kirn, who was not part of this study. However, “within songbirds the whole idea of left side dominance is not ironclad, even within the same species.”