Slug City is an integrative physiology lab studying how complexity in brain and behavior appeared in evolution. We describe the neural mechanisms for how animals organize their behavior in terms of sensation, motivation, and experience, and how the basic template for economic decision is embellished in evolution for enhanced cognition. We analyze decision-making in behavioral expression and the underlying neural network circuitry. In addition, we analyze interactions of neural networks and the regulation of network activity by cell signaling pathways involving neuromodulatory messengers and second messenger pathways. We use the simple carnivorous marine snail Pleurobranchaea californica and the greatly more complex octopus as model systems, taking advantage of similarities and differences in comparative analyses of behaviors and brains underlying their successes as generalized predators. Neurocomputational models emerge from the behavioral and physiological work in software and hardware platforms for autonomous cost-benefit decision-making and robotics.
Our Principal Investigator is Rhanor Gillette.
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