Scripps College Class of 2018 student Naomi Schroff-Mehta presented in May 2017 at the LA Neurological Society her undergraduate research on pair-bonding. Pair-bonding is a major part of many animal interactions, and Schroff-Mehta says her lab was interested in understanding the neurochemical basis for this pair-bond formation, particularly in zebra finches.
“We examined the role of dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in partner preference, which are receptors implicated in reward pathways. By testing the preference of a female zebra finch for her mate’s song versus the song of a stranger, we were able to test how these receptors could be involved in facilitating or disrupting the pair-bond formation,” Scroff-Mehta explained. Scroff-Mehta said that the research results ultimately create a foundation for future experiments that can further examine the neural basis of partner preference in finches.