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Peer Reviewed Research Articles


  1. Elie JE and Theunissen FE. Zebra finches identify individuals using vocal signatures unique to each call type. Nature Communication 9:4026. Read it here.
  2. Piazza EA, Theunissen FE, Wessel D, Whitney D. Rapid adaptation to the timbre of natural sounds. Sci Rep. 8(1):13826


  1. Holdgraf CR, Rieger JW, Micheli C, Martin S, Knight RT and Theunissen FE. Encoding and Decoding Models in Cognitive Electrophysiology. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 11.
  2. Kaardal JT, Theunissen FE and Sharpee TO. A Low-Rank Method for Characterizing High-Level Neural Computations. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 11(68).
  3. De Heer WA, Huth AG, Griffiths TL,  Gallant JL and Theunissen FE. The Hierarchical Cortical Organization of Human Speech Processing. J. Neurosciences 37(27): 6539-6557.
  4. Mouterde S, Elie JE, Mathevon N, Theunissen FE. Single neurons in the avian auditory cortex encode individual identity and propagation distance in naturally degraded communication calls. J. Neurosciences 37(13): 3491-3510.


  1. Huth AG, de Heer WA, Griffiths TL, Theunissen FE and Gallant JL. Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex. Nature 532(7600): 453-458.
  2. Elie, J. E. and Theunissen FE. The vocal repertoire of the domesticated zebra finch: a data-driven approach to decipher the information-bearing acoustic features of communication signals. Anim Cogn 19(2): 285-315.
  3. Holdgraf CR, de Heer W, Pasley B, Rieger J, Crone N, Lin J, Knight RT, Theunissen FE. Rapid tuning adaptation in human auditory cortex enhances speech intelligibility. Nature Communication. 7: 15


  1. Lee, T. and Theunissen FE. A single microphone noise reduction algorithm based on the detection and reconstruction of spectro-temporal features. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 471(2184)
  2. Perez, E. C., J. E. Elie, I. C. A. Boucaud, T. Crouchet, C. O. Soulage, H. A. Soula, F. E. Theunissen and C. Vignal. Physiological resonance between mates through calls as possible evidence of empathic processes in songbirds. Hormones and behavior 75: 130-141.
  3. Elie, J. E. and Theunissen FE. Meaning in the avian auditory cortex: neural representation of communication calls. The European journal of neuroscience 41(5): 546-567.


  1. Mouterde S, Theunissen FE, Elie JE, Vignal C and Mathevon N. Acoustic communication and sound degradation: How does the individual signature of zebra finch calls transmit over distance? PloS One 9 (7):e102842.
  2. Mouterde S, Theunissen FE, Elie JE and Mathevon N. Learning to cope with degraded sounds: Female zebra finches can improve their expertise at discriminating between male voices at long distance. J. Exp. Biol. 217(17):3169-3177
  3. Dahl A, Sherlock BR, Campos JJ, and Theunissen FE. Mothers' Tone of Voice Depends on the Nature of Infants' Transgressions. Emotion 14 (14) :651-65


  1. Amin NA, Gastpar M, and Theunissen FE. Selective and Efficient Neural Coding of Communication Signals Depends on Early Acoustic and Social Environment. PLOS One: e61417.
  2. Elliott TM, Hamilton LS, and Theunissen FE. Acoustic structure of the five perceptual dimensions of timbre in orchestral instrument tones. JASA 133 (1):389-404. 2013
  3. Hauber ME, Woolley SMN, Cassey P, Theunissen FE. Experience dependence of neural responses to different classes of male songs in the primary auditory forebrain of female songbirds. BBR 243:184-190 2013
  4. Moore RC, Lee T, Theunissen FE. Noise-invariant Neurons in the Avian Auditory Cortex: Hearing the Song in Noise. PLoS Comp Bio 9(3): e1002942. 2013


  1. Goll JC, Ridgway GR; Crutch SJ, Theunissen FE and Warren J. Nonverbal sound processing in semantic dementia: a functional MRI study.  Neuroimage.  61(1):170-180. 2012


  1. Amin NA, Gill PR, Theunissen FE. Role of the zebra finch auditory thalamus in generating complex representations for natural sounds. J. Neurophys. 104(2):784-79. 2010.
  2. Mathevon, N., Koralek A, Weldele M, Glickman SE, Theunissen FE.  What the hyena's laugh tells: Sex, age, dominance and individual signature in the giggling call of Crocuta crocuta. BMC Ecology. 10(1): p. 9. 2010
  3. Gastpar MC, Gill PR, Huth AG, and Theunissen FE. Anthropic correction of information estimates and its application to neural coding. IEEE Trans of Information Theory. 56(2):890-900 2010
  4. Woolley SM, Hauber ME, Theunissen FE.  Developmental experience alters information coding in auditory midbrain and forebrain neurons. Dev Neurobiol. 70(4):235-52. 2010


  1. Elliott TM and Theunissen FE.  The modulation transfer function for speech intelligibility. PLoS Comput Biol. 3:e1000302. PMID: 19266016. 2009
  2. Woolley SM, Gill PR, Fremouw T, Theunissen FE.  Functional groups in the avian auditory system. J Neurosci. 29(9):2780-93. PMID: 19261874. 2009


  1. Boumans T, Gobes SM, Poirier C, Theunissen FE, Vandersmissen L, Pintjens W, Verhoye M, Bolhuis JJ, Van der Linden A. Functional MRI of Auditory Responses in the Zebra Finch Forebrain Reveals a Hierarchical Organisation Based on Signal Strength but Not Selectivity.  PLoS ONE. 3(9): e3184.  PMID: 18781203 2008
  2. Gill P, Woolley SM, Fremouw T, Theunissen FE. What's That Sound? Auditory Area CLM Encodes Stimulus Surprise, Not Intensity or Intensity Changes.  J Neurophysiol. 99(6):2809-20 PMID: 18287545. 2008


  1. Boumans T, Theunissen FE, Poirier C, Van Der Linden A. Neural representation of spectral and temporal features of song in the auditory forebrain of zebra finches as revealed by functional MRI. Eur J Neurosci. 26(9):2613-26.  PMID: 17970728. 2007
  2. Hauber ME, Woolley SMN, Theunissen FE. Experience-dependence of neural responses to social versus isolate conspecific songs in the forebrain of female Zebra Finches. Journal of Ornithology. 148 (Suppl 2):S231–S239. 2007
  3. Shaevitz SS, Theunissen FE. Functional connectivity between auditory areas field L and CLM and song system nucleus HVC in anesthetized zebra finches. J Neurophysiol. 98(5):2747-64. PMID: 17898149. 2007
  4. Hauber ME, Cassey P, Woolley SM, Theunissen FE. Neurophysiological response selectivity for conspecific songs over synthetic sounds in the auditory forebrain of non-singing female songbirds. J Comp Physiol A. 193(7):765-74. 2007
  5. Amin N, Doupe AJ, Theunissen FE. Development of Selectivity for Natural Sounds in the Songbird Auditory Forebrain. J Neurophysiol. 97(5):3517-31. PMID: 17360830. 2007
  6. Cohen Y, Theunissen FE, Russ BE, Gill P. The acoustic features of rhesus vocalizations and their representation in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol. 97(2):1470-84. PMID: 17135477. 2007


  1. Gill PR, Zhang J, Woolley, SMN, Fremouw T and Theunissen FE.  Sound Representation Methods for Spectro-Temporal Receptive Field Estimation. J. Computational Neuroscience.  21(1):5–20. PMID: 16633939. 2006
  2. Woolley SMN, Gill PR, and Theunissen FE.  Stimulus-Dependent Auditory Tuning Results in Synchronous Population Coding of Vocalizations in the Songbird Midbrain. J. Neuroscience. 26(9):2499-512. PMID: 16510728. 2006


  1. Woolley S, Fremouw T, Hsu A and Theunissen FE. Tuning for Spectro-temporal Modulations: a Mechanism for Auditory Discrimination of Natural Sounds. Nature Neuroscience. 8(10):1371-9. PMID: 16136039. 2005


  1. Hsu A, Woolley S, Fremouw T and Theunissen FE. Modulation and phase spectrum of natural sounds enhance neural discrimination performed by single auditory neurons. J. Neuroscience 24(41): 9201-21. PMID: 15483139. 2004
  2. Amin N, Grace GA, and Theunissen FE. Neural Response to Bird’s Own Song and Tutor Song in the Zebra Finch Field L and Caudal Mesopallium. J. Comp. Physiology A 190: 469-489. 2004.
  3. Hsu A, Borst A and Theunissen FE. Quantifying variability in neural responses and its application for the validation of model predictions. Network: Comp. Neural Syst 15(2):91-109. PMID: 15214701. 2004.


  1. Singh N and Theunissen FE. Modulation spectra of natural sounds and ethological theories of auditory processing.  JASA 114:3394-3411. PMID: 14714819. 2003
  2. Kimpo RR, Theunissen FE, and Doupe AJ. Propagation of correlated activity through multiple stages of a neural circuit. J. Neuroscience 13:5750-61, 2003.
  3. Grace JA, Amin NA, Singh NC, Theunissen FE. Selectivity for Conspecific Song in the Zebra Finch Auditory Forebrain. J. Neurophys. 89 472-487, 2003


  1. Theunissen FE, David SV, Singh NC, Hsu A, Vinje WE and Gallant JL. Estimating spatio-temporal receptive fields of auditory and visual neurons from their responses to natural stimuli. Network: Comp. Neural Syst.12  289-316, PMID: 11563531 2001
  2. Sen K, Theunissen FE, Doupe AJ. Feature analysis of natural sounds in the songbird auditory forebrain. J. Neurophys. 86 1445-1459, 2001


  1. Theunissen FE, Sen K and Doupe AJ. Spectral-temporal receptive fields of nonlinear auditory neurons obtained using natural sounds. J. Neuroscience, 20(6):2315-2331, 2000
  2. Jacobs GA and Theunissen FE. Extraction of Sensory Parameters from a Neural Map by Primary Sensory Interneurons. J. Neuroscience 20(7): 2934-2943, 2000


  1. Theunissen FE and Doupe AJ.  Temporal and spectral sensitivity of complex auditory neurons in nucleus HVc of male zebra finches. J. Neuroscience 18(10):3786-3802. 1998
  2. Haag J, Theunissen FE and Borst A.  The intrinsic electrophysiological characteristics of fly lobula plate tangential cells. II Active membrane properties.   J. Computational Neuroscience. 4(4), 1997.
  3. Clague HW, Theunissen FE and Miller JP.  The effects of adaptation on neural coding by primary sensory interneurons in the cricket cercal system.  J. Neurophys. 77:207-220, 1997
  4. Jacobs GA and Theunissen FE. Functional organization of a neural map in the cricket cercal sensory system.  J. Neuroscience 16(2):769-784, 1996.
  5. Theunissen FE, Roddey JC, Stufflebeam S, Clague H and Miller JP.  Information theoretic analysis of dynamical encoding by four identified primary sensory interneurons in the cricket cercal system.  J. Neurophys.  75(4): 1345-1364, 1996
  6. Theunissen FE and Miller JP.  Temporal encoding in nervous systems: a rigorous definition.   J. Computational Neuroscience. 2:149-162, 1995.
  7. Theunissen FE and Miller JP.  Representation of sensory information in the cricket cercal sensory system. II. Information theoretic calculation of system accuracy and optimal tuning curve width of four primary interneurons.  J Neurophys. 66(5):1690-1703, 1991
  8. Miller JP, Jacobs GA and Theunissen FE.  Representation of sensory information in the cricket cercal sensory system. I. Response properties of the primary interneurons.  J Neurophys. 66(5):1680-1689, 1991.


Book chapters

  1. David SV, Oliver M, Gallant JL and Theunissen FE. Spectro-Temporal Receptive Fields and High-Order Stimulus-Response Functions: Methods, Validation and Physiological Mechanisms In Handbook of Modern Techniques in Auditory Cortex. Editors: Depireux DA and Elhilali M. Nova Publishers. ISBN: 978-1-62808-900-4. 2013
  2. Elliot T and Theunissen FE. The avian auditory pallium In The Auditory Cortex. Editors: C. Schreiner and J. Winer. Springer-Verglag. 2011
  3. Theunissen FE. Avian Audiory System. Encyclopedia of Neurosciences. Springer-Verglag. 2009 .
  4. Theunissen FE, Amin S, Shaevitz S, Woolley SMN, Fremouw T and Hauber M. Song selectivity and the songbird brain.  In Neuroscience of Birdsong.  Philip Zeigler P and Marler P Eds. Cambridge University Press. 2008
  5. Theunissen FE, Amin S, Shaevitz S, Woolley SMN, Fremouw T and Hauber M. Song selectivity in the song system and in the auditory forebrain. In Behavioral Neurobiology of Birdsong .Editor P. Zeigler and P. Marler. Ann  NY Acad  Sci. 1016: 222-245. 2004
  6. Theunissen FE, Woolley SMN, Hsu A and Fremouw T. Methods for the analysis of auditory processing in the brain.  In Behavioral Neurobiology of Birdsong . Editor P. Zeigler and P. Marler. Ann  NY Acad  Sci. 1016: 187-207 2004.
  7. Theunissen FE, Eeckman FH and Miller JP. A modified Hodgkin and Huxley spiking model with continuous spiking output. In Computation and Neural Systems. Editor Frank Eeckman. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1993
  8. Theunissen FE, Eeckman FH and Miller JP. Linearization by noise and/or additional shunting current of a modified FitzHugh Nagumo spiking model. In  Neural Systems: Analysis and Modeling.  Editor F. Eeckman. Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992.
  9. Eeckman FH, Theunissen FE, and Miller JP. NeMoSys: An approach to Realistic Neural Simulation. In  Neural Systems: Analysis and Modeling.  Editor F. Eeckman. Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992.


Peer-reviewed review articles or commentaries

  1. Theunissen FE and Elie JE. Neural Processing of Natural Sounds. Nature Neurosciences Reviews. 15 (6):355-366 2014
  2. Theunissen FE and Elie JE. Population code, noise correlations and memory. Neuron 78, 209-210. 2013
  3. Theunissen FE and Shaevitz S. Auditory processing of vocal sounds in birds. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 16(4):400-7. 2006
  4. Theunissen FE. Use it or loose it. Focus on:"Sequential learning from multiple tutors and serial retuning of auditory neurons in a brain area important to birdsong learning”. J. Neurophys. 92(5):2642-3. 2004
  5. Theunissen FE. From synchrony to sparseness. Trends Neurosci 26 61-64, 2003
  6. Borst A and Theunissen FE. Information theory and neural coding. Nature Neuroscience. 2(11):947-957, 1999


  1. Zhang J, Gill, P. Gallant J and Theunissen FE. STRFPAK (Version 5.3). Software for estimating Spatio-Temporal Receptive Fields of sensory neurons. University of California, Berkeley. Copyright 2003-12. Available at
  2. Theunissen FE, Tromp J, Eeckman FH, Miller JP. NeMoSys (Version 5.3). A Neuro-Modeling-System. University of California, Berkeley. Copyright. 1992.