Learned components of courtship

A focus on postural displays, choreographies and construction abilities

Song learning research has provided a plethora of information on the proximate and ultimate explanations for learning of vocal displays. However, sexual displays involve a variety of components including body postures, sequences of movements, and modification of the environment for attracting prospective mates. Although visual displays are widespread and prominent, only few studies have investigated the role experience and learning may play on motor performance of non-vocal courtship signals.

In this review paper, we use the framework provided by vocal learning research as a guide to investigate whether, and how, motor displays may be learned. We review the available evidence which suggests that learning of visual courtship components is more widespread than had been previously assumed, and identify the areas where more research is needed. The full text of the article can be found at this link.

This paper was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) (W1262-B29), and by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) (CS018-021).

Giovanni Spezie

Cliodhna Quigley

Leonida Fusani

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