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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Apr;22(2):279-84. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2011.12.004. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Fast-starts in hunting fish: decision-making in small networks of identified neurons.

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Department of Animal Physiology, University of Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.


Decision-making networks must be tuned according to the rules that govern which action will be rewarded for a given constellation of current sensory information. Somehow these rules must be implemented in the networks that translate the sensory cues to actions but the nature of this representation is enigmatic. Recent findings suggest that Mauthner-associated networks in some fish can govern surprisingly sophisticated and plastic decisions in which the rules of prey motion govern what speed and direction must be selected to be at the right point at the right time. With the key cellular players individually identifiable, fish can help us to discover the nature of how rules are represented in decision-making circuitry of the vertebrate brain.

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