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Thesis defense – Silvia Pagliarini

25 March 2021 / 16:00

Online: https://u-bordeaux-fr.zoom.us/

Titre : Modeling the neural network responsible for song learning

Defense in english


Humans learn to speak in a similar way as how songbirds learn to sing. Both learn to speak/sing by imitation from an early age going through the same stages of development. First they listen to their parents’ vocalizations, then they try to reproduce them: initially babbling, until their vocal output mimics those of their parents. Songbirds have dedicated brain circuits for vocal learning, making them an ideal model for exploring the representation of imitative vocal learning.

My research project aims to build a bio-inspired model to describe imitative vocal learning. This model consists in a perceptual-motor loop where a sensory evaluation mechanism drives learning. The sound production is obtained from real recordings, using recent developments in artificial intelligence. This project, in between computer science and neuroscience, may help to better understand imitative vocal learning, and more generally sensorimotor learning.

Publications about the thesis subject

Silvia Pagliarini, Arthur Leblois, Xavier Hinaut. Vocal Imitation in Sensorimotor Learning Models: a Comparative Review. IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc, 2020

Silvia Pagliarini, Xavier Hinaut, Arthur Leblois. A bio-inspired model towards vocal gesture learning in songbird. 2018 Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-EpiRob), Sep 2018, Tokyo, Japan.

Silvia Pagliarini, Arthur Leblois, Xavier Hinaut. Towards Biological Plausibility of Vocal Learning Models: a Short Review. ICDL-Epirob Workshop on Continual Unsupervised Sensorimotor Learning, Sep 2018, Tokyo, Japan.


Mme. DESAINTE-CATHERINE, Myriam, University of Bordeaux (Examinatrice)
M. HAHNLOSER, Richard, ETH Zurich (Rapporteur)
M. SCHWARTZ, Jean-Luc, CNRS (Rapporteur)
Mme. WARLAUMONT, Anne, University of California, Los Angeles (Examinatrice)

Silvia Pagliarini
Team Mnemosyne : synergie mnémonique

Thesis supervisors: Xavier Hinaut and Arthur Leblois

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25 March 2021
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