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What singing fruit flies can tell us about quick decisions
Date:3/20/2014

hat makes the fly system a unique model to study decision-making in a natural context," Murthy said.

"You can imagine that if a fly can integrate visual information quickly to modulate his song, the way in which it does that is probably a very basic equivalent of how a more complicated animal solves a similar problem," she said. "To figure out at the level of individual neurons how flies perform sensory-motor integration will give us insight into how a mammalian brain does it and, ultimately, maybe how a human brain does it."

Aravi Samuel, a Harvard University professor of neuroscience who studies the brain and behavior using roundworms and fruit fly larvae, said that the researchers conducted the kind of "rigorous" behavioral analysis that is essential to understanding the brain's circuitry.

"Neuroscience isn't just making electrical recordings of circuits or finding molecules that affect circuit properties," said Samuel, who is familiar with the research but had no role in it. "It also is about understanding the behavior itself, from sensory input to motor output. Understanding the computation the animal is making by studying the animal is the proper framework for future mechanistic studies."

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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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