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Vision Res. 1999 Nov;39(23):3920-33.

The memory template in Drosophila pattern vision at the flight simulator.

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Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Biozentrum, Würzburg, Germany.


Pattern recognition is studied in flight orientation of fixed flying Drosophila melanogaster controlling the horizontal rotations of an arena. Earlier experiments had suggested a simple mechanism of pattern recognition in which a memory template and the actual image are retinotopically matched. In contrast, we now show that Drosophila extracts at least two and probably four pattern parameters: size, vertical position of the center of gravity and, presumably horizontal/vertical extent as well as vertical separatedness of pattern elements. Moreover, the fly treats isolated pattern elements as a compound figure. Retinal transfer is possible between training and test if the centers of gravity of the compound figures are retained.

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