How researchers look at the bird brain in action — ScienceDaily


How do birds make choices and which mind areas are significantly energetic once they resolve duties? Researchers from the Division of Biopsychology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) are investigating these questions. To date, solely anesthetized birds and subsequently passive experiments might be examined utilizing the purposeful magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thus, the examination of mind processes throughout energetic duties was not potential. Now the cognitive neuroscientists on the Biopsychology lab have constructed an experimental set-up which permits them to hold out fMRI examinations on awake pigeons and thus additionally examine cognitive processes for the primary time. They printed their outcomes on-line within the journal “Nature Communications” on 18 September 2020.

Opening and shutting the beak

Inside the new experimental setup, the animals could be offered with duties that they actively work on. Throughout this time, fMRI recordings are repeatedly made in order that the exercise of the mind areas which are energetic throughout process processing is recorded. In distinction to fMRI examinations in people, by which the members can reply to duties by urgent buttons, the pigeons reply by opening and shutting their beak, which is registered by a sensor under the beak.

The researchers checked the standard of the gained fMRI photos in a check examine. The pigeons needed to study to distinguish between two colors. The animals discovered to react to the looks of the right color by opening their beak and acquired a reward for proper solutions. “This examine was only a check run to indicate whether or not the scan in awake behaving birds works as we had anticipated,” explains Mehdi Behroozi, the primary creator of the examine.

The best way is open for extra advanced investigations

“The fMRI information of the check examine confirmed that even with this easy discrimination process, an entire community of areas within the pigeon’s mind is energetic, which couldn’t but be represented in its entirety,” says Onur Güntürkün, Professor of Biopsychology at RUB concerning the outcomes of the check examine. “Now the way in which is open for investigations with extra advanced cognitive duties. Particularly at a time after we are amazed to search out out increasingly more how clever birds are, this breakthrough will assist to establish the mind foundation of those skills,” provides Güntürkün.

About purposeful magnetic resonance imaging

In purposeful magnetic resonance tomography, slice photos of the mind are generated utilizing a powerful magnet. They present how properly particular person elements of the mind are provided with oxygen. Mind areas which are very energetic have a decrease oxygen saturation than much less energetic areas. Due to this fact one can for example see which areas of the mind are significantly challenged when fixing a process.

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Materials supplied by Ruhr-University Bochum. Observe: Content material could also be edited for type and size.

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