Seminar "Flexible control of probabilistic goal-directed navigation" by Dr. Chuntao Dan


Tuesday, July 25, 2023 - 11:00 to 12:00


Seminar room C209, Center Building


Title: "Flexible control of probabilistic goal-directed navigation"

Speaker: Dr. Chuntao Dan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus


Internal representations enable flexible behavior in both animals and artificial agents. Here, we propose a framework for how Drosophila use their internal representation of head direction to maintain and modify preferred goal headings upon selective thermal reinforcement. We show that flies in a well-established operant visual learning paradigm use stochastically generated fixations and directed saccades to express heading preferences, and that silencing their head direction representation compromises their ability to modify these preferences based on reinforcement. We describe how flies’ ability to quickly map their surroundings and adapt their behavior to the rules of their environment may rest on a behavioral policy whose parameters are flexible but whose form and dependence on head-direction and goal representations are genetically encoded in the structure of their circuits. We show how such a policy can facilitate rapid learning of new goal headings, balance exploration and exploitation about the current goal heading, and ensure that separate learning processes involved in mapping the environment and forming goals within that environment remain consistent with one another. Many of the mechanisms we outline may be broadly relevant for rapidly adaptive behavior driven by internal representations.

[Zoom information]

Meeting URL:
Meeting ID: 946 6874 0911
Passcode: 290152

All-OIST Category: 

Subscribe to the OIST Calendar: Right-click to download, then open in your calendar application.