208 episodes

Audio versions of bioRxiv paper abstracts

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Audio versions of bioRxiv paper abstracts

    Automatic Analysis of Bees' Waggle Dance

    Automatic Analysis of Bees' Waggle Dance

    Link to bioRxiv paper:
    http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2020.11.21.354019v1?rss=1

    Authors: Reece, J., Couvillon, M. J., Grueter, C., Ratnieks, F., Reyes-Aldasoro, C. C.

    Abstract:
    This work describe an algorithm for the automatic analysis of the waggle dance of honeybees. The algorithm analyses a video of a beehive with 13,624 frames, acquired at 25 frames/second. The algorithm employs the following traditional image processing steps: conversion to grayscale, low pass filtering, background subtraction, thresholding, tracking and clustering to detect run of bees that perform waggle dances. The algorithm detected 44,530 waggle events, i.e. one bee waggling in one time frame, which were then clustered into 511 waggle runs. Most of these were concentrated in one section of the hive. The accuracy of the tracking was 90% and a series of metrics like intra-dance variation in angle and duration were found to be consistent with literature. Whilst this algorithm was tested on a single video, the ideas and steps, which are simple as compared with Machine and Deep Learning techniques, should be attractive for researchers in this field who are not specialists in more complex techniques.

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    Oxytocin promotes convergence in personality between members of a monogamous pair

    Oxytocin promotes convergence in personality between members of a monogamous pair

    Link to bioRxiv paper:
    http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2020.11.20.390245v1?rss=1

    Authors: Monari, P. K., Rieger, N. S., Hartfield, K., Schefelker, J., Marler, C. A.

    Abstract:
    Social context is critical in shaping behavioral responses to stimuli and can alter an individual's behavioral type, which would otherwise be fixed in social isolation. For monogamous biparental vertebrates, social context is critical as interactions are frequent and consistent, involving high interindividual dependence and cooperation that can lead to large fitness impacts. We demonstrate that in the strictly monogamous and highly territorial California mouse, individuals alter approach response to an aggressive conspecific playback stimulus, barks, to become more similar to their partner during early bonding prior to pup birth; an effect distinct from assortative mating. Additionally, sustained vocalizations, an affiliative ultrasonic vocalization when used between members of a pair, are associated with increased behavioral convergence following pair formation suggesting a vocal communication role in emergent pair behavior. We identified the neuropeptide oxytocin as sufficient to promote behavioral convergence in paired individuals who differed in their initial behavioral type, as characterized by approach behavior. Social context, specifically pair-bonding, appears vital for behavioral responses to aggressive signals. While non-bonded animals maintained stable responses, pair-bonding led to a pair emergent property, a convergence in behavioral responses. This convergence can be driven by oxytocin, revealing a significant expansion in oxytocin's effects on behavioral coordination.

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    No preference for prosocial 'helping' behavior in rats with concurrent social interaction opportunities

    No preference for prosocial 'helping' behavior in rats with concurrent social interaction opportunities

    Link to bioRxiv paper:
    http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2020.11.18.388702v1?rss=1

    Authors: Heslin, K. A., Brown, M. F.

    Abstract:
    Helping behavior tasks are proposed to assess prosocial or empathic behavior in rodents. This paradigm characterizes the behavior of subject animals presented with the opportunity to release a conspecific from a distressing situation. Previous studies found a preference in rats for releasing restrained or distressed conspecifics over other controls (e.g., empty restrainers or inanimate objects). An empathy account was offered to explain the observed behaviors, claiming subjects were motivated to reduce the distress of others based on a rodent homologue of empathy. An opposing account attributes all previous results to subjects seeking social-contact. To dissociate these two accounts for helping behavior, we presented subject rats with three simultaneous choice alternatives: releasing a restrained conspecific, engaging a non-restrained conspecific, or not socializing. Subjects showed an initial preference for socializing with the non-restrained conspecific, and no preference for helping. This result contradicts the empathy account, but is consistent with the social-contact account of helping behavior.

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    Deep neural network models reveal interplay of peripheral coding and stimulus statistics in pitch perception

    Deep neural network models reveal interplay of peripheral coding and stimulus statistics in pitch perception

    Link to bioRxiv paper:
    http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2020.11.19.389999v1?rss=1

    Authors: Saddler, M. R., Gonzalez, R., McDermott, J. H.

    Abstract:
    Computations on receptor responses enable behavior in the environment. Behavior is plausibly shaped by both the sensory receptors and the environments for which organisms are optimized, but their roles are often opaque. One classic example is pitch perception, whose properties are commonly linked to peripheral neural coding limits rather than environmental acoustic constraints. We trained artificial neural networks to estimate fundamental frequency from simulated cochlear representations of natural sounds. The best-performing networks replicated many characteristics of human pitch judgments. To probe how our ears and environment shape these characteristics, we optimized networks given altered cochleae or sound statistics. Human-like behavior emerged only when cochleae had high temporal fidelity and when models were optimized for natural sounds. The results suggest pitch perception is critically shaped by the constraints of natural environments in addition to those of the cochlea, illustrating the use of contemporary neural networks to reveal underpinnings of behavior.

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    Representations of local spatial information in the human medial temporal lobe duringmemory-guided navigation

    Representations of local spatial information in the human medial temporal lobe duringmemory-guided navigation

    Link to bioRxiv paper:
    http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2020.11.18.389346v1?rss=1

    Authors: Wang, S.-F., Carr, V. A., Favila, S. E., Bailenson, J. N., Brown, T. I., Jiang, J., Wagner, A. D.

    Abstract:
    The hippocampus (HC) and surrounding medial temporal lobe (MTL) cortical regions play a critical role in spatial navigation and episodic memory. However, it remains unclear how the interaction between the hippocampal conjunctive coding and mnemonic differentiation contributes to neural representations of spatial environments. Multivariate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analyses enable examination of how human HC and MTL cortical regions encode multidimensional spatial information to support memory-guided navigation. We combined high-resolution fMRI with a virtual navigation paradigm in which participants relied on memory of the environment to navigate to goal locations in two different virtual rooms. Within each room, participants were cued to navigate to four learned locations, each associated with one of two reward values. Pattern similarity analysis revealed that when participants successfully arrived at goal locations, activity patterns in HC and parahippocampal cortex (PHC) represented room-goal location conjunctions and activity patterns in HC subfields represented room-reward-location conjunctions. These results add to an emerging literature revealing hippocampal conjunctive representations during goal-directed behavior.

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    Resurgence of a perinatal attraction for animate objects via thyroid hormone T3

    Resurgence of a perinatal attraction for animate objects via thyroid hormone T3

    Link to bioRxiv paper:
    http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2020.11.16.384289v1?rss=1

    Authors: Lorenzi, E., Lemaire, B. S., Versace, E., Matsushima, T., Vallortigara, G.

    Abstract:
    For inexperienced brains, some stimuli are more attractive than others. Human neonates and newly-hatched chicks preferentially orient towards face-like stimuli, biological motion, and objects changing speed. In chicks, this enhances exposure to social partners, and subsequent attachment trough filial imprinting. Early preferences are not steady. The preference for stimuli changing speed fades away after three days in chicks. To understand the physiological mechanisms underlying these transient responses, we tested whether the early preferences for objects changing speed can be promoted by thyroid hormone 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3). This hormone determines the start of imprinting's sensitive period. We found that the preference for objects changing speed can be re-established in female chicks treated with T3. Moreover, day-one chicks treated with an inhibitor of endogenous T3 did not show any preference. These results suggest that the time windows of early predispositions and of high plasticity are controlled by the same molecular mechanisms.

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