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Grace Smith-Vidaurre, PhD

Research Statement

Vocal learning, or the ability to learn vocalizations from social companions, is a fundamental component of human language. This rare trait has also evolved in several phylogenetically distant mammalian and avian taxa. I am interested in how the social environment influences this cognitive trait. My research encompasses both functional and mechanistic questions with parrots and songbirds. I am currently working on how vocal learning may be used to communicate social information, and assessing epigenetic regulatory markers in the neural circuits important for this specialized form of social learning.