Birdsong Group Richard Hahnloser's page
Some animal species are experts in vocal learning. Among the champions in vocal imitation are songbirds. These birds use a highly specialized set of brain areas termed the song system to learn and generate their complex songs. Our research interests are to elucidate the behavioral constraints of song production and learning in songbirds and to decipher the working principles and the architecture of this song system. Our aim is to perform precise measurements and apply quantitative analyses, striving for a model-based understanding of vocal production and learning, as well as associated behaviors.
Currently, we do not know to what extent our findings in birds will generalize to neural mechanisms of human speech learning and even human language processing. Yet, there is hope that the foundations of human speech and language are similarly rooted in the laws of neural computation and brain organization.
If you're interested in joining our research group, pleaes send us an email, we are always in search for talented people with backgrounds in engineering or natural sciences, preferentially physics or biology.
What is the role of computational modeling in neuroscience? We take inspiration from George Box: ' Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.' To idnetify the useful models we strive to relate them to simple hypotheses; the fun of neuroscience then is to test those hypotheses.