The sun is up, the birds are singing, and Dr. Sarah Woolley is learning how young humans develop the ability to communicate using their voices.
She discusses her research in the latest installment in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Brain Insight Lecture series at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute.
Songbirds, like humans, have the exceedingly uncommon capacity to learn vocal communications from the adults around them. By studying them, Dr. Woolley, a neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology at Columbia, is learning more about how our early social experiences prepare our developing brains for vocal communication.
The Brain Insight Lecture series is one of two closely related initiatives at the Zuckerman institute supported by SNF. The other, the Teacher-Scholar Program, connects New York City middle school and high school science teachers with the latest in brain research. Using the Brain Insight Lectures as case studies in subsequent workshops, teachers create a lesson plan for the semester to bring cutting-edge brain science into the classroom.