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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

"Natural Behavior and Primate Cortex"

Mon, February 25, 2013 • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM • SEA 4.244

Center for Perceptual Systems Seminar Series:

 "Natural Behavior and Primate Cortex"

Presented by

Cory Miller, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of California San Diego

Reception with Refreshments at 11:30 AM

Find information about current and upcoming talks at CPS on our website:

ABSTRACT:  There is little doubt that selection for neural mechanisms that permit individuals to effectively navigate the complexities of their respective social landscape was central in the evolution of primate cortex. There remains, however, little known about the neural mechanisms that underlie behaviors that mitigate social interactions in nonhuman primates. Here we describe work aimed at addressing this topic. We examined the neural basis of a vocal behavior known as antiphonal calling in common marmosets, a natural behavior involving the reciprocal exchange of vocal signals. At the behavioral level, we employ software based interactive playback experiments to dissection the sensory and motor processes underlying this behavior.  Neurophysiology experiments combine this software with a technique for recording the activity of single neurons in prefrontal cortex while freely-moving engaged in this behavior and other related contexts. Analyses indicated that neural responses were strongly context-dependent. Individual units exhibit different responses depending on whether the animal is restrained, freely-moving or engaged in active communication.  Moreover, we found that neural responses were correlated with idiosyncrasies of the behavior, such as the duration of antiphonal calling bouts. The ongoing research on antiphonal calling has the potential to provide unique insights into the neural processes underlying natural behavior in primate cortex.

Sponsored by: Center for Perceptual Systems

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