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Avian prenatal auditory stimulation: progress and perspectives

Abstract

Prenatal auditory stimulation is known to critically affect the development of acoustic preference and species recognition throughout ontogeny in birds. We focus our review on experimental studies that have used birds as model systems to explore the effects of prenatal auditory stimulation on the developing organism. To begin, we introduce concepts and terms of embryonic stages and learning and review the development of auditory perception and responsivity to acoustic stimulation in avian embryos. We then analyze studies that provide specific details of the effects of prenatal acoustic stimulation on the behavior, social preferences, and vocal production of both pre- and postnatal birds and discuss nuanced effects of the social and perceptual environment to which embryos may be exposed. We conclude that acoustic stimulation of avian embryos is a viable and critical model for future studies on the role of early experiences on the development of neural substrates and the resulting social affiliation patterns.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the reviewers and editors of BEAS for their insightful reviews and invaluable support with this publication.

Funding

This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation grants (1456524 and 1456612) awarded to MEH, MIML, and C. Balakrishnan. MR was supported by fellowships from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The funding sources had no input into the design and interpretation of this study.

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Correspondence to Moises Rivera.

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This article does not contain any new studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Communicated by N. Clayton

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Rivera, M., Louder, M.I.M., Kleindorfer, S. et al. Avian prenatal auditory stimulation: progress and perspectives. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 72, 112 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2528-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2528-0

Keywords

  • Bioacoustics
  • Species recognition
  • Embryonic learning
  • Prenatal stimulation