To obey or not to obey: the science of habits

Whether you rub your nose in a particular way when it feels itchy, or walk down from your home to the nearest convenience store (you know you can get there blindfolded), or you’re once again buying exactly the same perfume you’ve been buying for the last twenty years (you might call it brand loyalty but I call it a habit, in the context of this blog post), these are all some of our trusty old habits that don’t die. Don’t die easily, at the very least.

A habit is a behavior that’s learned and repeated so often that you perform it unconsciously. Without thinking about it. And while you do them mechanically, let’s zero in on some basic neurobiology facts there. Continue reading “To obey or not to obey: the science of habits”

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Vocal Learning Behavior in Songbirds (And how this relates to humans)

Masters of songs, and inspiring the works of the literati and artists of the past as well as the present, songbirds are an intriguing species. Their mellifluous string of songs is what fascinated renowned poets such as Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley, and painters such as Imru Al Qays, Ren Yi, and George Baselitz to place the magnificent songbird into their works.

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A pair of songbirds perched on a branch amidst flowers. Adapted from Youtube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIL-rb2l5S1)

This blog post aims to briefly shed light on the vocal learning behavior in songbirds, with a slight emphasis on the importance of the neurotransmitter dopamine, in vocal processing.

More than four thousand species of songbirds, almost fifty percent of the bird species, entertain human ears around the world with their unique melodious songs (Innovateus, n.d). They include Nightingales, Mockbirds, Musk Duck, Bengalese finches, American robins, Eastern bluebirds, Northern cardinals, to name but a few. Songbirds inhabit a diverse range of areas, encompassing open fields, woodlands, and other terrestrial habitats, as well as vegetated wetlands and shores.  Continue reading “Vocal Learning Behavior in Songbirds (And how this relates to humans)”