Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Scott MacDougall-Shackleton


The auditory forebrain regions NCM and CMM of songbirds are associated with perception and complex auditory processing. Expression of the immediate-early gene ZENK varies in response to different sounds. Two hypotheses are proposed for this. First, ZENK may reflect access to a representation of song memories. Second, ZENK may reflect attention. I tested these hypotheses by measuring ZENK in response to tutored heterospecific or isolate songs compared to non-tutored wild-type song. Young zebra finch females were exposed to different tutoring conditions and later exposed to different playbacks, and the expression of ZENK in CMM and NCM measured. ZENK responses varied across playback stimuli in some brain regions, but did not interact with tutoring conditions. These results do not support the hypothesis that ZENK activation reflects auditory memories.