Vocalization

Conceptual image of colorful falling letters, casting shadows on a white wall.

Some minimally verbal autistic people show signs of written-language familiarity, study suggests

But researchers not involved in the work worry the findings could be used to support discredited facilitated-communication techniques.

By Calli McMurray
9 May 2024 | 7 min read
Research image of neurons.

Abundant motor proteins disrupt cries in FOXP2 mice

Knocking down the gene that codes for the proteins normalizes the vocalizations.

By Laura Dattaro, Maaisha Osman
28 July 2023 | 3 min read
Research image showing FOXP1 gene expression in female zebra finch brains.

Lacking autism-linked gene, female birds tune out favorite songs

The gene, FOXP1, influences an animal’s motivation to listen to social communication, a new study suggests.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
21 April 2023 | 5 min read
Constantina Theofanopoulou strikes a dancer's pose in her lab.

Beyond the bench: Learning new moves with dancer-scientist Constantina Theofanopoulou

Theofanopoulou shares how flamenco stepped up the pace of her social-communication research, and what’s behind the ‘no fear’ ethos in her new lab.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
13 September 2022 | 7 min read

New software flags autism rat model’s telltale squeaks

By breaking rodent vocalizations into parts, TrackUSF distinguishes rats with mutations in the SHANK3 gene from their wildtype counterparts.

By Peter Hess
29 July 2022 | 3 min read

Researchers publish new dataset on minimally verbal autistic people

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published the first repository of vocalizations from minimally verbal autistic people. Those with few or no spoken words still produce a range of phonemes, or units of sound, that may serve as developmental markers or intervention targets.

By Shelby Grebbin
18 May 2022 | 4 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Birdsong-related DNA sequences tied to autism-linked genes

Genes that appear to play a role in some birds' ability to learn songs are frequently mutated in autistic people.

By Laura Dattaro
6 December 2021 | 4 min read
Colorful illustration shows a boy talking and a bird singing, with the sounds merging between them.
Spectrum Microphone

Tuning into bird songs for clues to autism

Parallels between how birds learn to sing and how children learn to speak provide a window into the roots of language difficulties in autism.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
8 September 2021 | 4 min read
Brown rat mother and pup in rustic setting with burlap and wheat.

Maternal antibodies tied to autism bind to budding rat neurons

Certain antibodies may shape neurodevelopment by attaching to and invading new neurons in the brain.

By Angie Voyles Askham
6 May 2021 | 3 min read
Singing zebra finches
Spectrum Microphone

Autism gene interference silences song memory in birds

Muffling expression of an autism-linked gene in a key song-related area of the brain renders young zebra finches unable to learn songs from older birds.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
19 February 2021 | 5 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Portrait of Kaspar Podgorski standing in his lab wearing a helmet with a climbing rope over his shoulder.

Climbing to new heights: Q&A with Kaspar Podgorski

The optical physiologist tracks neural computations inside the lab and scales sheer rock faces outside—even after a life-changing fall.

By Elissa Welle
21 June 2024 | 8 min read
Research illustration groups genes by their effects on brain cell types.

Giant analysis reveals how autism-linked genes affect brain cell types

Genes that predispose people to autism account for a large portion of the neuronal and glial cell changes seen in those with the condition.

By Charles Q. Choi
20 June 2024 | 5 min read

Widely used calcium imaging protocol can lead to spurious results, new paper cautions

The technique, which measures calcium currents as a proxy for neuronal firing, sometimes reports unusual and potentially misleading waves of activity in the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
19 June 2024 | 0 min watch