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jwong's picture

In our clapping activity

In our clapping activity with the class last Thursday and on Tuesday, the issue of there being a single conductor was raised. If anything I think the idea of everyone being their own conductor is still very valid; everyone’s I-function definitely controls corollary discharge and thus helps render people being aware of the other movements, noises, and presence around them, regardless of their five senses. A person’s being aware has to do with their ability to react to those around them, and how they can control their reactions to those around them. I read an interesting article about songbirds and mirror neurons, a type of neuron that fire both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another animal. Known to be expert mimics, songbirds’ singing abilities result from their mirroring neurons located in the “high vocal center (HVC)” of their brain, where they react to specific songs using precise timing; this particular pattern of timing the nerve impulses are the same whether the bird is listening to song or singing them. This coordination of delaying motor signals is an example of corollary discharge, where the neural representation of the output the song being sung is programmed to compare with the auditory input of hearing the song being sung. This corollary discharge pattern is significant to the songbird’s ability to actually learn the song they sing and to recognize the songs of other birds singing in their same vicinity. Thus corollary discharge is important to introducing variability to the song pattern itself, an integral aspect of a songbird’s mating abilities. In this way, I think the corollary discharge pattern can be seen as being related to the I-function because it allows the songbird to have a sense of its surroundings and thus makes it more able to determine its current state. Knowing how to perceive itself in relation to its surroundings help to center the bird and is central to its ability to perform and function.


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