Home > Papers from 2016 > How might insect brains support visual navigation?

How might insect brains support visual navigation?

Despite a long history of invertebrate neuroscience we still know little about the circuits underpinning navigation. We know that associative learning depends on the mushroom bodies of the insect brain and these areas show specific developmental trajectories related to the onset of foraging in social insects. Therefore it seems reasonable to look at Mushroom bodies as possible sites of visual learning for navigation. To test the plausibility of this idea, Ardin et al have taken a detailed model of the mushroom body and shown, in simulations of complex habitats, that the same architecture that is well suited to olfactory associative learning in flies, can also be used to rapidly learn visual routes through complex natural environments. This is suggestive of a general purpose learning architecture, suited to a variety of behaviours.

Ardin P, Peng F, Mangan M, Lagogiannis K, Webb B (2016) Using an Insect Mushroom Body Circuit to Encode Route Memory in Complex Natural Environments. PLoS Comput Biol 12(2): e1004683. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004683

Categories: Papers from 2016
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