About this Research Topic
Most animal species emit vocalizations to communicate each other and to convey their emotional state. Animal communication is the transfer of information from one or a group of animals (sender) to one or more other animals (receiver) that affects the current or future behavior of the receivers. Acoustic communication occurs both in the audible and ultrasonic range of sound frequencies. Communication is a complex function regulated by several neuropeptides and involving multiple brain areas. It is impaired in a variety of pathological conditions, such as in neurodevelopmental disorders (autism spectrum disorders, in particular). Recently, the possibility to pharmacologically modulate animal communication has emerged. This research topic will be focused on the neurobiological bases of animal acoustic communication, sophisticated methods of vocalizations analysis (in different animal species), pathological conditions characterized by communication deficits and related pharmacological interventions.
Acoustic communication is a fundamental function of most animal species that offers different advantages in both the management of daily life and survival. It is intensely linked to social behavior and for these reasons, vocalizations study has become a valid assay in behavioral readout and monitoring in this context. For several decades, animal communication has been extensively analyzed from an ethological point of view but in recent times the vocalizations study has acquired large importance in the field of psychiatric and neurological disorders, starting from those characterized by communication and social interaction deficits such as neurodevelopmental disorders and in particular autism spectrum disorders.
Communication is a complex behavioral function engaging several brain areas (such as basal ganglia, thalamus and cortex) and modulated by some critical neuropeptides, among which oxytocin and vasopressin. Vocalizations can be acquired by means of specific tools and later analyzed on the base of both quantitative and qualitative parameters. Indeed, for each animal species, different vocalization categories exist and have already been defined. The understanding of different calls' meaning is still missing, and it will represent an essential step forward in the field of animal communication.
To investigate this issue, We would like to have the participation of Researchers who are involved in the study of both the mechanisms that regulate the neurobiology of animal communication and animal vocalization analysis. A particular focus on pathological conditions characterized by deficits in animal communication has to be included, together with studies on possible pharmacological interventions capable of modulating communication.
Recent research contributions covering the following themes:
· Neurobiology of animal communication
· New methods to analyze animal vocalization
· Pathologies characterized by communication deficits
· Pharmacological strategies to act on communication
Keywords: Communication, ultrasonic vocalization, animal behavior, vocalization analysis, neurodevelopmental disorders
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