In our lab, we are mainly interested in mechanisms of information processing and learning in the central auditory system. Our approach is neuroethological, progressing from behavior to the underlying neural mechanisms. Our research is focused on the barn owl, a nocturnal predator, specialized for detecting small prey in acoustically complex and dimly lit conditions.

We believe that some of the most challenging questions in neuroscience can be answered by studying animals such as the barn owl, which are specialized in performing certain tasks. For example, the important question of how sensory experience shapes the circuitry of the brain to allow adaptive behavior has been studied extensively in barn owls. As a result of this research, the auditory system of the barn owl provides today one of the best understood examples of experience-dependent plasticity.

In our lab, we are continuing this research on the sensory system of the barn owl and extending it to address a broad scope of topics related to development, learning, attention and sensory processing.

To view a lecture by Yoram Gutfreund on barn owls and neuroscience (40 min in Hebrew) click here:

To view a lecture by Yoram Gutfreund on barn owls and neuroscience (55 min in English) click here:

To an article by Yoram Gutfreund on Ethology, Neuroscience and the question of animal consciousness (in Hebrew) click here:
Odissea article page1

Odissea article

A report in the New York Times on our lab, describing findings on perceptual grouping in Barn Owls.