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Different parameters support generalization and discrimination learning in Drosophila at the flight simulator

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 09:36 authored by Björn Brembs, Natalie Hempel de Ibarra
We have used a genetically tractable model system, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to study the interdependence between sensory processing and associative processing on learning performance. We investigated the influence of variations in the physical and predictive properties of color stimuli in several different operant-conditioning procedures on the subsequent learning performance. These procedures included context and stimulus generalization as well as color, compound, and conditional discrimination (colors and patterns). A surprisingly complex dependence of the learning performance on the colors’ physical and predictive properties emerged, which was clarified by taking into account the fly-subjective perception of the color stimuli. Based on estimates of the stimuli’s color and brightness values, we propose that the different tasks are supported by different parameters of the color stimuli; generalization occurs only if the chromaticity is sufficiently similar, whereas discrimination learning relies on brightness differences.


Publication status

  • Published


Learning and Memory




Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press



Page range

629 - 637

Department affiliated with

  • Biology and Environmental Science Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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