Crossmodal Interactions Between Olfactory and Visual Learning in Drosophila

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Science  08 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5732, pp. 307-310
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111280

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Different modalities of sensation interact in a synergistic or antagonistic manner during sensory perception, but whether there is also interaction during memory acquisition is largely unknown. In Drosophila reinforcement learning, we found that conditioning with concurrent visual and olfactory cues reduced the threshold for unimodal memory retrieval. Furthermore, bimodal preconditioning followed by unimodal conditioning with either a visual or olfactory cue led to crossmodal memory transfer. Crossmodal memory acquisition in Drosophila may contribute significantly to learning in a natural environment.

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