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RIKEN Center for Brain Science Cognition and Behavior Joint Research Laboratory

Laboratory Head: Kazuo Okanoya (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Kazuo  Okanoya(Ph.D.)

Our research hypothesis is “Communication shaped our mind”. To experimentally validate this hypothesis, we study animal and human communicative behavior by biopsychological approaches. Our experimental animals include rats, birds (Bengalese finches, Zebra finches, and Java sparrows), and humans. We set up behavioral paradigms that require cognitive or communicative faculties, and simultaneously measure brain activities such as single unit response, cellular gene expressions, electroencephalograms, and functional MRI. We aim to investigate correlational and causal relations between neural activities and behavior. We hope to understand how mind arouse based on these research activities.

Main Research Fields

  • Complex Systems

Related Research Fields

  • Informatics
  • Complex Systems
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology


  • Ethology
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Ecology
  • Neuroscience

Selected Publications

  • 1.*Yuki, S., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Rats show adaptive choice in a metacognitive task with high uncertainty"
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 43(1), 109. (2017)
  • 2.*Tachibana, R. O., Takahasi, M., Hessler, N. A., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Maturation‐dependent control of vocal temporal plasticity in a songbird"
    Developmental Neurobiology. (2017)
  • 3.Fehér, O., Ljubičić, I., Suzuki, K., Okanoya, K., & Tchernichovski, O.:
    "Statistical learning in songbirds: from self-tutoring to song culture"
    Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 372(1711), 20160053. (2017)
  • 4.Nakatani, H., Ogawa, A., Suzuki, C., Asamizuya, T., Ueno, K., Cheng, K., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Perceived moral traits of others differentiate the neural activation that underlies inequity-aversion"
    Scientific Reports, 7. (2017)
  • 5.Nixima, K., Okanoya, K., Ichinohe, N., & Kurotani, T.:
    "Fast Voltage-Sensitive Dye Imaging of Excitatory and Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission in the Rat Granular Retrosplenial Cortex"
    Journal of Neurophysiology, jn-00734. (2017)
  • 6.*Kagawa, H., Seki, Y., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Affective valence of neurons in the vicinity of the rat amygdala: Single unit activity in response to a conditioned behavior and vocal sound playback"
    Behavioural brain research, 324, 109-114. (2017)
  • 7.*Katahira, K., Yuki, S., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Model-based estimation of subjective values using choice tasks with probabilistic feedback"
    Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 79, 29-43. (2017)
  • 8.*Koumura, T., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Automatic Recognition of Element Classes and Boundaries in the Birdsong with Variable Sequences"
    PloS one, 11(7), e0159188. (2016)
  • 9.Fujii, T. G., Ikebuchi, M., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Auditory Responses to Vocal Sounds in the Songbird Nucleus Taeniae of the Amygdala and the Adjacent Arcopallium"
    Brain, behavior and evolution, 87(4), 275-289. (2016)
  • 10.Saito, Y., Yuki, S., Seki, Y., Kagawa, H., & Okanoya, K.:
    "Cognitive bias in rats evoked by ultrasonic vocalizations suggests emotional contagion"
    Behavioural processes, 132, 5-11. (2016)

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Kazuo Okanoya
Laboratory Head

Core members

Maki Ikebuchi
Research Scientist

Contact Information

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo
3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)3-5454-6301
Fax: +81-(0)3-5454-6725