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The lobster to understand the human decision making

Certain choices, like leaving while running in front of a danger or rather doing it dead, are thus actually dictated by nervous pulses.

Studies on human brain are very difficult to realize… The use of invertebrates as model of study of the nervous system has been there for ages and various research showed by the past that this simplified model can often be transposed to the man. It is using this model that a team of research undertaken by the psychologist Jens Herberholz chose the lobster to understand the neuronal mechanism of the decision-making.

The researchers developed a system of study where the lobster is the star. Food is put at range of the animal but a shade imitating the arrival of a predator is also present. The role of lobster is to decide what behavior to adopt according to various situations: a more or less attractive food and a threatening shade more or less fast. The answers of the animal can be either the escape, synonymous with loss of energy and distance of the food source, or to stop, less expensive action in energy and having the advantage of remaining close to the potential meal.

Results published in the newspaper Proceedings off the Royal Society B are as follows: the slower the shade of the predator is, the more the lobster tends to flee, certainly because of the persistence of the threat. On the other hand, if the odor of food is more enticing, the lobster tendency is to stay and not to move away from the food. Moreover, the time of latency between the moment when the shade is visible and the moment when the lobster reacts decreases when the speed of the shade increases, but always in a scale from 50 to 100 milliseconds.

During these experiments, the researchers also could measure the pulses caused by neurons lobster thanks to electrodes laid out strategically in the water. The activation of the giant inter neurons is accompanied by a specific and recognizable electric signal: the results show that the activation of these inter neurons always leads to the lobster flee.

This study indicates that, just like the human being, the lobster is able to integrate different stimuli according to their intensity and to react in an adapted way. The activation of giant inter neurons seems to be the key of the mechanism of the lobster decision-making, a mechanism with the interface between integration sensory system and the realization of the action. The researchers want to now investigate in the cellular and neuro-chemical mechanisms implied in the decision-making in lobster for perhaps a day to understand perfectly what occurs in our brain!


Translated by WDR from Claire Peltier, Futura-Sciences


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