Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Second Department


Reader 1

Melissa J. Coleman

Reader 2

John G. Milton

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Rights Information

© 2011 Sydney Pia Goings


I am interested in discovering the role of field potential oscillations in producing synchrony within the song system of the male zebra finch brain. An important function attributed to neural synchrony is sensorimotor integration. In the production of birdsong, sensorimotor integration is crucial, as auditory feedback is necessary for the maintenance of the song. A cortical-thalamic-cortical feedback loop is thought to play a role in the integration of auditory and motor information for the purpose of producing song. Synchronous activity has been observed between at least two nuclei in this feedback loop, MMAN and HVC. Since low frequency field potential oscillations have been shown to play a role in the synchronization of nuclei within the brain of other model animals, I hypothesized that this may be the case in the zebra finch song system. In order to investigate whether oscillatory activity is a mechanism behind the synchronous activity observed between HVC and MMAN, I performed dual extracellular recordings of neural activity within the zebra finch song system. Results suggest that oscillations are likely not involved in the synchrony observed in these nuclei. Future study may reveal that the structure of the feedback loop is necessary, and possibly even sufficient, for the synchronous activity in the zebra finch song system.


Senior thesis completed December 2011.