Bird brains: How do they stop?

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Animal experimental psychology
    • Comparative psychology
Response inhibition Mechanistic explanation Avian cognition
Project description

Response inhibition (RI), the ability to suppress inappropriate actions, is considered to be critical for adaptive behavior in ever-changing environments. Because of this, in recent years RI has become a popular topic in the animal cognition and behavior field. But within the field, differences in task performance are often ascribed to a single control process or function, without providing proper mechanistic explanations. In this project, I aim to address this issue by combining avian empirical work with a more fundamental approach, inspired by recent theoretical advances in the human domain. I propose that certain core cognitive processes play a role in RI across species. First, I will focus on stop-signal detection and action implementation, two basic fundamental processes at a single trial level. Second, I will investigate RI across trials and investigate whether individuals can learn to associate cues and contexts with stopping. Next, I will use my newly developed framework, to investigate the modulatory effects of monoamine neurotransmitters (i.e. serotonin, dopamine, noradrenalin) on distinct subcomponents of RI. By doing so, this project will establish the first coherent neuro-cognitive framework of animal (avian) RI.