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Learning on the Fly: Computational Model Demonstrates Similarity in How Humans, Insects Learn


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Model of a fruit fly's head; blue sections are the brain.

A new study from the University of Sussex shows how fruit flies may use dopamine to learn in a manner similar to humans.

Credit: ZEISS Microscopy/Flicker

A computational model developed by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Sussex shows similarities in the way insects and mammals learn.

The model demonstrates that dopamine neurons in the brain of a fruit fly, or the mushroom body, produce signals similar to those of dopamine neurons in mammals, and that these signals support learning according to the reward prediction error (RPE) hypothesis.

Sussex researcher James Bennett said, "Establishing a bridge between insect and mammal studies on learning may open up the possibility to exploit the powerful genetic tools available for performing experiments in insects, and the smaller scale of their brains, to make sense of brain function and disease in mammals, including humans."

From University of Sussex (U.K.)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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