Successfully producing complex behavior requires that neurons in the brain produce a pattern of muscular activation that in turn results in the desired behavioral output. Our research on singing behavior in finches investigates the relationship between these very different levels of description – neural activity, muscular activation, and task performance – by using a range of techniques to describe how neural circuits drive vocal output and are modified by sensorimotor experience. This work combines physiological recordings from neurons and muscles, behavioral manipulations, and computational approaches to describe the interplay between sensory feedback, motor production, and neural plasticity.

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