Mouse Talk: The applications of neurobiological models of mammalian hearing to the classification of mouse vocalizations


Extensive auditory neuroscience research that has focussed on the primary auditory pathways has failed to explain basic auditory functions such as sound recognition, auditory object streaming and habituation. Extra lemniscal auditory pathways including the ponto-cerebellar networks are well documented, and their involvement in conditioned reflexes in animals has even been computational modelled. In this talk I propose that conditioned reflexes are a primitive form of sound recognition (with a motor output), and so sound recognition more generally would likely recruit this evolutionarily ancient neurobiological pathway. I will present a pathway model of auditory processing in the ponto-cerebellar pathways in humans and animals, and its interconnections with emotion processing in the limbic system and higher cognitive processes in the cortex. I will then present a relatively simple computational approach to modelling the ponto-cerebellar auditory pathways and its application to the automatic classification of mouse calls. Finally I will outline the advantages of this approach to modelling animal vocal behaviour compared to current manual methods.