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Front Neurosci. 2012 Aug 28;6:125. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00125. eCollection 2012.

Decision Making and Behavioral Choice during Predator Avoidance.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland College Park, MD, USA.

Abstract

One of the most important decisions animals have to make is how to respond to an attack from a potential predator. The response must be prompt and appropriate to ensure survival. Invertebrates have been important models in studying the underlying neurobiology of the escape response due to their accessible nervous systems and easily quantifiable behavioral output. Moreover, invertebrates provide opportunities for investigating these processes at a level of analysis not available in most other organisms. Recently, there has been a renewed focus in understanding how value-based calculations are made on the level of the nervous system, i.e., when decisions are made under conflicting circumstances, and the most desirable choice must be selected by weighing the costs and benefits for each behavioral choice. This article reviews samples from the current literature on anti-predator decision making in invertebrates, from single neurons to complex behaviors. Recent progress in understanding the mechanisms underlying value-based behavioral decisions is also discussed.

KEYWORDS:

behavioral choice; decision making; escape; neural circuits; predation

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