Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Reader 1

Melissa Coleman

Reader 2

Cathy Reed


Female mating preferences has been an area of interest and study for decades due to the role it plays in the fitness, mating, relationship between the female and male birds. Factors that influence mating preference has been examined from the size and complexity of song repertoire to neurotransmitter systems. However, the neural mechanism and brain region behind it is largely unknown. This experiment proposal seeks to investigate the possible brain areas responsible for female mating preference: NCM, HVC, and NCC. It has been shown that dopamine receptors and circuits play an important role in inducing song preference of female zebra finches. Increasing dopamine levels or activating dopamine receptors induces female song preference of male song and decreasing dopamine levels or blocking dopamine receptors inhibited/got rid of female song preference. In turn, brain areas related to dopamine transmitter system were proposed: NCM, HVC, and HCC. It is hypothesized that these three areas may have higher response to partner songs than new male songs. To investigate, female zebra finches will be paired with male finches for at least two weeks. Then, the females will be anesthetized and undergo craniotomy to insert electrode into the three areas. Action potentials will be recorded with the playbacks of song of her partner or new male song. Analysis of the action potential will be performed to obtain the result. The results of this experiment will help to evince about brain regions involved in song preference.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.