Julia Hyland Bruno is an ethologist interested in behavioral development, in particular, that of social animals -- such as songbirds, or humans -- that learn how to communicate with one another. In 2017, she received her PhD in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience from the City University of New York, where she studied the rhythmic patterning of zebra finch vocal learning. Her present and planned research is focused on the social dynamics of this developmental process. How is a learned communication system transmitted across generations? How do competitive or accommodating social interactions affect the vocal culture of a group? As a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Julia will develop an interdisciplinary research program, incorporating social science and computer music, that will open these questions to experimental study.
Project Title: Learning to Improvise? Using Social Songbirds to Study Vocal Culture in the Lab