Research Interests: Analysis of animal communication
Very few animals learn their vocalizations. Songbirds, such
as the zebra finch, learn their songs from a tutor and an open question
is how much of the song is acquired vs. inherited. In
collaboration with W. Bialek,
worked out a new
approach to the
analysis of complex natural sounds. We analyzed
the statistics of adult zebra finch song, and developed new methods for
the song analysis. The advantage of our methods is that they are model
independent and based purely on information theoretic principles.
S. Still, A. K. Schenk, B. D. Wright, A. J. Doupe and W. Bialek. Information theoretic approaches to the
analysis of complex natural sounds. The Gordon Conference
``Sensory Coding and the Natural Environment -- Probabilistic models of
perception'', Mount Holyoke College, MA, USA, 2002.
1. Information content in zebra finch song about
social parameters (499, 699 or
This project will tackle
questions regarding the behaviorally relevant information that is
encoded in the bird song by asking about variations in the song
recorded under different behavioral paradigms.
2. Analysing plastic song(699 or thesis)
This project willinvestigate how song is learned by
analyzing ``plastic'' song produced during bird development.
Song analysis(499, 699 or thesis)
This project will investigate questions
about the statistics of the communication sounds of whales. The long
term goal is to identify statistically relevant ``units''
in these vocalizations and to test them for behavioral significance.