How do bats catch insects in the dark? How do bees learn which flowers to visit? How do food-storing birds remember where their hoards are? Questions like these are addressed by neuroethology, the branch of behavioral neuroscience concerned with analyzing the neural bases of naturally occurring behaviors. This book brings together thirteen chapters presenting findings on perceptual and cognitive processes in some of the most active areas of neuroethological research, including auditory localization by bats and owls, song perception and learning in birds, pitch processing by frogs and toads, imprinting in birds, spatial memory in birds, learning in bees and in Aplysia, and electroreception in fish. A variety of approaches are represented, such as field studies, psychophysical tests, electrophysiological experiments, lesion studies, comparative neuroanatomy, and studies of development. Each chapter gives an up-to-date overview of a particular author’s research and places it within the broader context of issues about animal perception and cognition. The book as a whole exemplifies how studying species and their particular specializations can inform general issues in psychology, ethology, and neuro-science.
Introduction: Neuroethology, Perception, and Cognition -- Specializations in Learning -- Specializations in Honey Bee Learning -- Detecting Associations in Pavlovian Conditioning and Instrumental Learning in Vertebrates and in Invertebrates -- Neuroethological Studies on How Birds Discriminate Song -- Ecological Specialization in the Avian Brain -- Specializations for Perception of Biologically Relevant Stimuli -- The Perceptual Foundations of Vocal Learning in Budgerigars -- How Birds Use Frequency to Recognize Their Songs -- Development of Perceptual Mechanisms in Birds: Predispositions and Imprinting -- Neural Codes for “Pitch” Processing in a Unique Vertebrate Auditory System -- Recognition of Visual Signals: Eyes Specialize -- Specializations for Spatial Perception and Orientation -- Perception Along the Axis of Target Range in the Echolocating Bat -- Converging Approaches to Determining Sound Localization Mechanisms in the Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus -- Sound Localization from Binaural Cues by the Barn Owl Auditory System