CORY MILLER, University of California San Diego
Title: Neurobiology of Marmoset 'Conversations'
Ebbinghaus Empire Series 2017-2018
Abstract: Communication is an inherently interactive process that weaves together the fabric of both human and nonhuman primate societies. Given the significance of sociality in the evolution of primate brains, studies of communication behaviors offer the unique opportunity to dissect the myriad of supporting neural processes that support the complex, dynamic social interactionscharacteristic of our Order. Here I will discuss ongoing studies investigating the neural mechanisms that support antiphonal 'conversations' in common marmosets. This behavior is characterized by the reciprocal, coordinated exchange of vocalizations between conspecifics, properties that are representative of primate sociality. I will first present neurophysiological evidence that neural processes in the frontal cortex of freely-moving, naturally behaving marmosets that may be distinct to natural behaviors, such as antiphonal conversations. I will also discuss a series of experiments aimed at explicating the respective contributions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms underlying this naturally occurring vocal behavior.
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