Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gender differences found in seasonal auditory changes

Date:
December 10, 2012
Source:
Georgia State University
Summary:
Auditory systems differ between sexes in sparrows depending on the season, a neuroscientist has found. The work adds to our knowledge of how the parts of the nervous system, including that of humans, are able to change.

Auditory systems differ between sexes in sparrows depending on the season, a Georgia State University neuroscientist has found. The work adds to our knowledge of how the parts of the nervous system, including that of humans, are able to change.

Megan Gall, a post-doctoral researcher with Georgia State's Neuroscience Institute, tested the peripheral auditory systems of male and female house sparrows, comparing the hearing of each gender during non-breeding seasons and breeding seasons.

Gall measured frequency selectivity -- the ability to tell sounds that are close in frequency apart, and temporal resolution, the ability to tell sounds apart that are very close together in time.

"We found that males have the same frequency selectivity and temporal resolution across breeding seasons," Gall said. "In the fall, males and females aren't different. But in the breeding season, females had better frequency selectivity, but this came at the expense of worse temporal resolution."

The study was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a British scientific journal.

The difference shows "plasticity," the ability to change, she said. Plasticity is an important concept in neuroscience, as scientists have increasingly been able to show that neurological systems have the ability to change.

Gall said the work shows, for the first time, that there's seasonal plasticity in these properties in the periphery of the auditory system, the ear and the auditory nerve, not just inside the parts of the brain that control auditory function.

Similar changes happen in humans, she said. Women show different auditory sensitivities during the course of a menstrual cycle.

"I always like to say that if your husband says he can't hear you, it may be that he can't. His auditory system is different than yours," Gall said.

The changes might have evolved over time for different reasons, she said, with one reason being that it is harder for the body to maintain a certain kind of tissues involved in hearing.

"In the ear, there are huge electrical gradients between the hair cells and the fluid that's bathing the hair cells in the ear, and that's expensive to maintain," she said. "Another possible reason is that there are other stimuli that you are concerned about during the non-breeding season.

"These birds live in an environment where it gets cold, it's hard to find food and they make calls that tell other individuals where that food is. So everybody wants to hear the call in the same way so that they all respond to that signal."

Alarm calls, warnings that a predator or predators are coming, might also require different kinds of auditory processing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. D. Gall, T. S. Salameh, J. R. Lucas. Songbird frequency selectivity and temporal resolution vary with sex and season. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2012; 280 (1751): 20122296 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2296

Cite This Page:

Georgia State University. "Gender differences found in seasonal auditory changes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210145232.htm>.
Georgia State University. (2012, December 10). Gender differences found in seasonal auditory changes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210145232.htm
Georgia State University. "Gender differences found in seasonal auditory changes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210145232.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins