Insights into the Neural and Genetic Basis of Vocal Communication

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The use of vocalizations to communicate information and elaborate social bonds is an adaptation seen in many vertebrate species. Human speech is an extreme version of this pervasive form of communication. Unlike the vocalizations exhibited by the majority of land vertebrates, speech is a learned behavior requiring early sensory exposure and auditory feedback for its development and maintenance. Studies in humans and a small number of other species have provided insights into the neural and genetic basis for learned vocal communication and are helping to delineate the roles of brain circuits across the cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum in generating vocal behaviors. This Review provides an outline of the current knowledge about these circuits and the genes implicated in vocal communication, as well as a perspective on future research directions in this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1276
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 10 2016


  • FOXP2
  • human brain
  • language
  • sensorimotor circuits
  • songbird
  • speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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