Audrey Dussutour (University of Toulouse)
Decision making and learning abilities in non neural organisms, evidence from slime molds.
Audrey Dussutour, IVEP team, University of Toulouse
— Learning and decision making have hitherto been investigated almost exclusively in multicellular neural organisms. Evidence for learning and decision making in non-neural multicellular organisms are scant and only a few unequivocal reports of learning and decision making have been described in single celled organisms. In this conference, in a first part, I will discuss decision making in slime molds and show how behavioral variation predicts decision accuracy in a unicellular organism: the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Second, I will demonstrate that habituation, a simple form of learning, can be observed in slime molds. In a third part of this conference, I will show that a learned behavior can be transferred from one slime mold to another via cell fusion. In a last part, I will present a potential mechanism responsible for habituation in slime molds. All these results suggest that slime moulds may be an ideal model system in which to investigate fundamental mechanisms underlying the ground-floor of cognitive abilities.
Host: Burkhardt Group