Home > Papers from 2014 > The problem with deja vu

The problem with deja vu

A canonical demonstration in insect navigation comes from Kohler and Wehner where ants displaced to a point on their habitual route will recapitulate the remainder of their route faithfully. Indeed in extreme forms of this demonstration ants can be shown to repeatedly recapitulate the route , showing the dominance of visual cues over PI. However, when Matthew Collett looked closely at this behaviour he found something interesting. Upon repetition of a familiar route, ants would show a period of confusion before continuing with their normal path. After a series of controls, we can be sure that it is the route repetition that causes this ‘confusion’. Mechanistically it might be that route memories are inhibited after use – and therefore temporarily unavailable – or that some sequential mechanism is disrupted by the manipulation.
Collett, M. (2014). A desert ant’s memory of recent visual experience and the control of route guidance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences281(1787), 20140634.
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