Jon Sakata

Jon Sakata
McGill University | McGill

About

76
Publications
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1,915
Citations
Citations since 2017
26 Research Items
749 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150

Publications

Publications (76)
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how animals display diverse and complex behaviours remains a central question in biology. A new study in PLOS Biology suggests that the emergence of clusters of parvalbumin neurons in the forebrain could reflect a convergent mechanism underlying the evolution of skilled behaviours in birds.
Article
Learning to respond appropriately to novel dangers is often essential to survival and success, but carries risks. Learning about novel threats from others (social learning) can reduce these risks. Many species, including the Trinidadian guppy ( Poecilia reticulata ), respond defensively to both conspecific chemical alarm cues and conspecific anti-p...
Article
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Background Neck surface accelerometer (NSA) wearable devices have been developed for voice and upper airway health monitoring. As opposed to acoustic sounds, NSA senses mechanical vibrations propagated from the vocal tract to neck skin, which are indicative of a person’s voice and airway conditions. NSA signals do not carry identifiable speech info...
Preprint
The temporal organization of sounds used in social contexts can provide information about signal function and evoke varying responses in listeners (receivers). For example, music is a universal and learned human behavior that is characterized by different rhythms and tempos that can evoke disparate responses in listeners. Similarly, birdsong is a u...
Article
Full-text available
Comparisons between the communication systems of humans and animals are instrumental in contextualizing speech and language into an evolutionary and biological framework and for illuminating mechanisms of human communication. As a complement to previous work that compares developmental vocal learning and use among humans and songbirds, in this arti...
Article
Revealing the mechanisms underlying experience-dependent plasticity is a hallmark of behavioral neuroscience. While the study of social behavior has focused primarily on the neuroendocrine and neural control of social behaviors, the plasticity of these innate behaviors has received relatively less attention. Here, we review studies on mating-depend...
Article
Sensory learning during critical periods in development has lasting effects on behavior. Neuromodulators like dopamine and norepinephrine (NE) have been implicated in various forms of sensory learning, but little is known about their contribution to sensory learning during critical periods. Songbirds like the zebra finch communicate with each other...
Article
Organizational patterns can be shared across biological systems, and revealing the factors shaping common patterns can provide insight into fundamental biological mechanisms. The behavioral pattern that elements with more constituents tend to consist of shorter constituents (Menzerath’s law [ML]) was described first in speech and language (e.g., wo...
Article
Full-text available
Variation in the acoustic structure of vocal signals is important to communicate social information. However, relatively little is known about the features that receivers extract to decipher relevant social information. Here, we took an expansive, bottom-up approach to delineate the feature space that could be important for processing social inform...
Article
Numerous animal displays begin with introductory gestures. For example, lizards start their head-bobbing displays with introductory push-ups, and many songbirds begin their vocal displays by repeating introductory notes (INs) before producing their learned song. Among songbirds, the acoustic structure and the number of INs produced before song vary...
Article
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Biological predispositions in learning can bias and constrain the cultural evolution of social and communicative behaviors (e.g., speech and birdsong), and lead to the emergence of behavioral and cultural “universals”. For example, surveys of laboratory and wild populations of zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) document consistent patterning of vo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Introductory gestures are present at the beginning of many animal displays. For example, lizards start their head-bobbing displays with introductory push-ups and animal vocal displays begin with introductory notes. Songbirds also begin their vocal displays by repeating introductory notes (INs) before producing their learned song and these INs are t...
Chapter
Over the past decades, research into the vocal communication system of songbirds has flourished. Research has spanned many levels of analysis, from broad evolutionary analyses of song production and acquisition to groundbreaking studies of neural contributions to song control and learning. Furthermore, there is increasing appreciation that song lea...
Chapter
Songbirds have become the most prominent animal model to reveal the neural mechanisms underlying vocal learning. Similar to other forms of sensorimotor learning, vocal learning in songbirds entails acquiring a sensory representation of communicative sounds (songs) and learning the motor commands to produce the memorized sounds. The process of song...
Article
Full-text available
Birdsong is a learned communicative behavior that consists of discrete acoustic elements (“syllables”) that are sequenced in a controlled manner. While the learning of the acoustic structure of syllables has been extensively studied, relatively little is known about sequence learning in songbirds. Statistical learning could contribute to the acquis...
Article
The interplay between inhibition and excitation can regulate behavioral expression and control, including the expression of communicative behaviors like birdsong. Computational models postulate varying degrees to which inhibition within vocal motor circuitry influences birdsong but few studies have tested these models by manipulating inhibition. He...
Book
This volume provides comprehensive, integrative, and comparative perspectives on birdsong and underscores the importance of birdsong research to behavioral and systems neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and biomedical research. Scaling the Levels of Birdsong Analysis Jon T. Sakata and Sarah C. Woolley Neural Circuits Underlying Vocal Learning in...
Article
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Vocal communication is critical for social interactions across a diversity of animals. A subset of those animals, including humans and songbirds, must learn how to produce their vocal communication signals. In this issue of PLOS Biology, Wang and colleagues use genome-wide investigations of gene expression in species hybrids to uncover transcriptio...
Article
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Agent based models (ABM) were developed to numerically simulate the biological response to surgical vocal fold injury and repair at the physiological level. This study aimed to improve the representation of existing ABM through a combination of empirical and computational experiments. Empirical data of vocal fold cell populations including neutroph...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the regulation of social behavioural expression requires insight into motivational and performance aspects. While a number of studies have independently assessed these aspects of social behaviours, few have examined how they relate to each other. By comparing behavioural variation in response to live or video presentations of conspeci...
Article
Predicting the nature of behavioral plasticity can provide insight into mechanisms of behavioral expression and control. Songbirds like the zebra finch rely on vocal signals for communication, and the performance of these signals demonstrate considerable plasticity over development. Traditionally, these signals were thought to be fixed in adulthood...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the regulation of social behavioural expression requires insight into motivational and performance aspects of social behaviours. While a number of studies have independently investigated motivational or performance aspects of social behaviours, few have examined how these aspects relate to each other. By comparing behavioural variatio...
Article
Full-text available
Many important behaviours are socially learned. For example, the acoustic structure of courtship songs in songbirds is learned by listening to and interacting with conspecifics during a sensitive period in development. Signallers modify the spectral and temporal structures of their vocalizations depending on the social context, but the degree to wh...
Article
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Distinguishing between familiar and unfamiliar individuals is an important task that shapes the expression of social behavior. As such, identifying the neural populations involved in processing and learning the sensory attributes of individuals is important for understanding mechanisms of behavior. Catecholamine-synthesizing neurons have been impli...
Article
Full-text available
Biological predispositions in vocal learning have been proposed to underlie commonalities in vocal sequences, including for speech and birdsong, but cultural propagation could also account for such commonalities [1-4]. Songbirds such as the zebra finch learn the sequencing of their acoustic elements ("syllables") during development [5-8]. Zebra fin...
Article
Full-text available
Sensorimotor integration is the process through which the nervous system creates a link between motor commands and associated sensory feedback. This process allows for the acquisition and refinement of many behaviors, including learned communication behaviors like speech and birdsong. Consequently, it is important to understand fundamental mechanis...
Article
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Cognitive processes like the formation of social memories can shape the nature of social interactions between conspecifics. Male songbirds use vocal signals during courtship interactions with females, but the degree to which social memory and familiarity influences the likelihood and structure of male courtship song remains largely unknown. Using a...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Social interactions are fundamental to the acquisition of speech and language; therefore, it is critical to reveal mechanisms of social influences to understand general mechanisms of vocal learning. Like humans, songbirds learn their vocalizations during development. We demonstrate that social interactions rapidly enhance vocal learnin...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate coordination of the sequencing and timing of motor gestures is important for the performance of complex and evolutionarily relevant behaviors. However, the degree to which motor sequencing and timing are related remains largely unknown. Birdsong is a communicative behavior that consists of discrete vocal motor elements ('syllables') that a...
Data
Inverse relationship between transition probabilities and gap durations (log10) at branch points. (a). Undirected songs of young adults (n = 218 transitions from 22 birds; F1,144.6 = 29.1, p<0.0001; slope = -0.240±0.044; same as Fig 2D). (b). Undirected songs of older adults (n = 144 transitions from 22 birds; F1,98.3 = 36.1, p<0.0001; slope = -0.3...
Data
Relationships between transition probabilities, gap durations, and syllable amplitude in the undirected songs of young adults. (a). Transition probabilities are significantly and positively related to the amplitude of transition syllables (i.e., syllables transitioned to; log10). (b). Gap durations are inversely related to the amplitude of transiti...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the factors that predict and guide variation in behavioral change can lend insight into mechanisms of motor plasticity and individual differences in behavior. The performance of adult birdsong changes with age in a manner that is similar to rapid context-dependent changes to song. To reveal mechanisms of vocal plasticity, we analyzed...
Article
Across vertebrate species, signalers alter the structure of their communication signals based on the social context. For example, male Bengalese finches produce faster and more stereotyped songs when directing song to females [female-directed (FD) song] than when singing in isolation [undirected (UD) song], and such changes have been found to incre...
Article
Social context affects behavioral displays across a variety of species. For example, social context acutely influences the acoustic and temporal structure of vocal communication signals such as speech and birdsong. Despite the prevalence and importance of such social influences, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying the social modu...
Article
Full-text available
Behavior is critically shaped during sensitive periods in development. Birdsong is a learned vocal behavior that undergoes dramatic plasticity during a sensitive period of sensorimotor learning. During this period, juvenile songbirds engage in vocal practice to shape their vocalizations into relatively stereotyped songs. By the time songbirds reach...
Article
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Recent experiments in divergent fields of birdsong have revealed that vocal performance is important for reproductive success and under active control by distinct neural circuits. Vocal consistency, the degree to which the spectral properties (e.g. dominant or fundamental frequency) of song elements are produced consistently from rendition to rendi...
Article
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Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) was first reported in 1966 in an African lizard. It has since been shown that TSD occurs in some fish, several lizards, tuataras, numerous turtles and all crocodilians. Extreme temperatures can also cause sex reversal in several amphibians and lizards with genotypic sex determination. Research in TSD sp...
Article
Full-text available
Sensory feedback is important for the learning and control of a variety of behaviors. Vocal motor production in songbirds is a powerful model system to study sensory influences on behavior because the learning, maintenance, and control of song are critically dependent on auditory feedback. Based on previous behavioral and neural experiments, it has...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral variability is important for motor skill learning but continues to be present and actively regulated even in well-learned behaviors. In adult songbirds, two types of song variability can persist and are modulated by social context: variability in syllable structure and variability in syllable sequencing. The degree to which the control o...
Article
Full-text available
Birdsong, like human speech, relies critically on auditory feedback to provide information about the quality of vocalizations. Although the importance of auditory feedback to vocal learning is well established, whether and how feedback signals influence vocal premotor circuitry has remained obscure. Previous studies in singing birds have not detect...
Article
Full-text available
Kratochvil et al. (Naturwissenschaften 95:209-215, 2008) reported recently that in the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) of the family Eublepharidae with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), clutches in which eggs were incubated at the same temperature produce only same-sex siblings. Interpreting this result in light of studies of se...
Article
Full-text available
Birdsong is a learned motor skill that is performed with a high degree of stereotypy in adult birds. Nevertheless, even in species where song "crystallizes" in a form that remains stable over time, there is residual variability. Such variability in well-learned skills is often construed as uncontrolled and irrelevant biological "noise." However, st...
Article
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Songbirds and humans both rely critically on hearing for learning and maintaining accurate vocalizations. Evidence strongly indicates that auditory feedback contributes in real time to human speech, but similar contributions of feedback to birdsong remain unclear. Here, we assessed real-time influences of auditory feedback on Bengalese finch song u...
Article
Incubation temperature during embryonic development determines gonadal sex in the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). Incubation temperature and gonadal sex jointly influence the display of sexual and agonistic behavior in adult leopard geckos. These differences in adult behavior are organized prior to sexual maturity, and it is plausible that...
Article
Cytochrome oxidase is a rate-limiting enzyme in oxidative phosphorylation, the major energy-synthesizing pathway used by the central nervous system, and cytochrome oxidase histochemistry has been extensively utilized to map changes in neural metabolism following experimental manipulations. However, the value of cytochrome oxidase activity in predic...
Article
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Comparative studies of species differences and similarities in the regulation of courtship behavior afford an understanding of evolutionary pressures and constraints shaping reproductive processes and the relative contributions of hormonal, genetic, and ecological factors. Here, we review species differences and similarities in the control of court...
Article
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Although the utility of analyzing behavioral experience effects on neural cytochrome oxidase (CO) activity is well recognized, the behavioral correlates of endogenous differences in CO activity have rarely been explored. In male leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius), the incubation temperature experienced during embryogenesis (IncT) and age affec...
Article
Although the distribution of catecholamine-synthesizing cells has been described for a variety of taxa, less is known about the functional significance of particular populations in nonmammalian species, especially reptiles. To understand the role of these populations in the display of social behaviors in lizards, we studied the interactive effects...
Article
Early developmental variables engender behavioral and neural variation, especially in species in which embryonic environment determines gonadal sex. In the leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, the incubation temperature of the egg (IncT) determines gonadal sex. Moreover, IncT affects the sexual differentiation of the individual and, consequently,...
Article
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Cnemidophorus whiptail lizards offer a unique opportunity to study behavioral and neural evolution because unlike most genera, ancestral and descendant species are still extant, and comparisons between species provide a window into correlated changes in biological organization through speciation. This review focuses on the all-female or parthenogen...
Article
Individual variation in behavioural expression and behavioural plasticity exist in all species, and early experiences are critical determinants of both. The leopard gecko is a lizard with temperature-dependent sex determination, and in this species, embryonic incubation temperature (IncT) affects the display of social behaviours. For example, adult...
Article
Successful reproduction requires the coordination of reproductive physiology with behavior. The neural correlates of reproductive behavior have been elucidated in a variety of amphibians, mammals, and birds but relatively few studies have examined reptiles. Here we investigate differences in androgen receptor (AR) mRNA expression in the forebrain a...
Article
Both testosterone (T) and progesterone (P) facilitate the expression of male-typical sexual behavior in a variety of animals, including rodents and lizards. In two species of whiptail lizards, Cnemidophorus inornatus and C. uniparens, both hormones elicit the full repertoire of courtship behavior. However, the relative efficacy of the two hormones...
Article
Unilateral lesions of the forelimb sensorimotor cortex and motor skills training interact to enhance synaptic plasticity in layer V of the motor cortex contralateral to the lesion in male rats. In this study, we assessed the metabolic correlates of these synaptic changes by quantifying the number and size of mitochondria in synaptic axonal terminal...
Article
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The relevance of careful behavioral measures and manipulations in animal research on neural plasticity and brain damage has become increasingly clear. Recent research in adult rats indicates that an understanding of neural restructuring after brain damage requires an understanding of how it is influenced by postinjury behavioral experiences. Other...
Article
In male vertebrates the display of courtship behavior depends on the presence of testicular androgens. However, social experiences in adulthood can alter the hormonal dependence of courtship behavior in a variety of species, and we have previously proposed that these behavioral changes are linked to changes in neural metabolic capacity (cytochrome...
Article
The effect of heterosexual social experience on brain metabolic capacity was investigated by measuring the activity of cytochrome oxidase, a rate-limiting enzyme in oxidative metabolism. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were kept naïve or allowed to copulate with receptive females three (3 F males) or 16 times (16 F males). Throughout the vomeronasal syste...
Article
Social interactions have lasting effects on behaviour and physiology in a variety of organisms. In the leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, social experience alters neural metabolism and elevates circulating concentrations of androgens. In this study, we assessed the effects of social experience (housing with females versus housing in isolation)...
Article
Preoptic dopamine release is integral to the display of copulatory behaviors in male mammals and birds. However, while the anatomical distributions of the dopamine synthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase are similar among vertebrates, evolutionary changes in the functional role of dopamine are poorly understood. In this study, we tested whether a...
Chapter
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Sexual differentiation can be defined as the process by which the capacity to display homotypical or heterotypical phenotypes is altered. For example, the brain of a male rodent is both masculinized and defeminized during the process of sexual differentiation, and the end product is an individual who is predisposed to behave like a male. Pioneering...
Article
Incubation temperature during embryonic development determines gonadal sex in many reptiles, including the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). In this study, we examined the hormonal and behavioral changes that occur during the reproductive cycle of female leopard geckos from four (i.e., 26, 30, 32.5, and 34 degrees C) incubation temperatures....
Article
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Many compounds in the environment capable of acting as endocrine disruptors have been assayed for their developmental effects on morphogenesis; however, few studies have addressed how such xenobiotics affect physiology. In the current study we examine the effects of three endocrine-disrupting compounds, chlordane, trans-nonachlor, and the polychlor...
Article
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The neural basis of individual differences in behavior has been studied primarily by analyzing the properties of specific neural areas. However, because of the organization of the nervous system, it is also plausible that differences in behavior are mediated by differences in the interactivity or functional connectivity among brain nuclei in partic...
Article
Full-text available
Incubation temperature determines gonadal sex in the red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta. However, little is known about the long-term effects of incubation temperature on traits other than gonadal sex in this species. To investigate the hypothesis that incubation temperature (independent of gonadal sex) influences sex steroid levels after h...
Article
The present investigation assessed the effect of lesions of the septum on male courtship and aggression in the territorial field sparrow (Spizella pusilla) and the colonial zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). In addition, pair-bonding and a variety of other social behaviors were examined in the zebra finch and dawn song (both the strictly agonistic...
Article
The mechanisms that control growth and reproduction have received considerable attention by molecular and cellular endocrinologists, yet there has been relatively little effort to link these two aspects of physiology. On the other hand, evolutionary biologists have long commented on the relationship between growth and reproduction in many species,...
Article
Full-text available
The mechanisms that control growth and reproduction have received considerable attention by molecular and cellular endocrinologists, yet there has been relatively little effort to link these two aspects of physiology. On the other hand, evolutionary biologists have long commented on the relationship between growth and reproduction in many species,...
Article
The synthetic position adopted by Müller is weakened by a large number of overinterpretations and misrepresentations, together with a caricatured view of innateness and modularity.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Texas at Austin, 2002. Vita. Includes bibliographical references. Requires PDF file reader.
Article
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