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 August 27, 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 August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Heart Association's first policy statement on electronic cigarettes backs them as a last resort to help smokers quit and calls for more regulation to keep them away from youth. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest group pushing for middle schools and high schools to start later, for the sake of their kids. Video provided by Newsy
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