The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Vocal corollary discharge communicates call duration to vertebrate auditory system.

PMID 24285884


Corollary discharge is essential to an animal's ability to filter self-generated from external stimuli. This includes acoustic communication, although direct demonstration of a corollary discharge that both conveys a vocal motor signal and informs the auditory system about the physical attributes of a self-generated vocalization has remained elusive for vertebrates. Here, we show the underlying synaptic activity of a neuronal vocal corollary discharge pathway in the hindbrain of a highly vocal species of fish. Neurons carrying the vocal corollary discharge are specifically adapted for the transmission of duration information, a predominant acoustic cue. The results reveal that vertebrates, like some insects, have a robust corollary discharge conveying call duration. Along with evidence for the influence of vocal duration on auditory encoding in mammals, these new findings suggest that linking vocal motor and corollary discharge pathways with pattern generating, call duration neurons is a shared network character across the animal kingdom.