Extracting social information from chemosensory cues: Consideration of several scenarios and their functional implications

Yoram Ben-Shaul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Across all sensory modalities, stimuli can vary along multiple dimensions. Efficient extraction of information requires sensitivity to those stimulus dimensions that provide behaviorally relevant information. To derive social information from chemosensory cues, sensory systems must embed information about the relationships between behaviorally relevant traits of individuals and the distributions of the chemical cues that are informative about these traits. In simple cases, the mere presence of one particular compound is sufficient to guide appropriate behavior. However, more generally, chemosensory information is conveyed via relative levels of multiple chemical cues, in non-trivial ways. The computations and networks needed to derive information from multi-molecule stimuli are distinct from those required by single molecule cues. Our current knowledge about how socially relevant information is encoded by chemical blends, and how it is extracted by chemosensory systems is very limited. This manuscript explores several scenarios and the neuronal computations required to identify them.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number439
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume9
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Ben-Shaul.

Keywords

  • Chemosensory cue
  • Neuronal computation
  • Olfactory circuitry
  • Pheromones
  • Social communication
  • Traits

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