Elucidation of neural mechanisms of learning and memory in insects and their comparison with those in mammals should help to deepen our understanding of evolution of the brain and behavior in animals. Our studies on Pavlovian (classical) conditioning in crickets suggested that octopamine (OA), the invertebrate counterpart of noradrenaline, and dopamine (DA) convey signals of appetitive and aversive unconditioned stimulus (US), respectively. Our studies also suggested that activation of OA or DA neurons is needed for execution of appetitive or aversive conditioned response (or for appetitive or aversive memory retrieval), respectively. We proposed that Pavlovian conditioning in crickets is determined by prediction error, i.e., discrepancy between the actual US and predicted US, as has been suggested in mammals. OA neurons appear to mediate the prediction error signals in appetitive conditioning. We conclude that insect Pavlovian conditioning is based on sophisticated information processing that shares many features with those in mammals, suggesting evolutionary convergence of basic brain functions between mammals and insects.
Large-billed crows, Corvus macrorhynchos, are one of familiar resident birds in Japan. They are originally jungle/forest-dwelling birds but now broaden their habitats to urban 'concrete jungle' environments such as Tokyo and Sapporo. Despite the close and overlapping range of the habitat between humans and crows, the socio-behavioural function of crows and its psychological and neural underpinnings have been poorly understood. Here, I review the recent studies in animal psychology on inter-individual communication for the understanding of individual-based social ecology of large-billed crows. Particular focuses are made on audio-vocal, visual, and tactile communication. First, vocal exchange with a contact call (ka call) and the acoustic individuality of ka calls as an identity signal are outlined. Second topic for visual communication is on audio-visual cross-modal recognition of familiar individuals and the involvement of the individual recognition in the formation and maintenance of dominance relationship. Finally, nonreciprocal but unidirectional allopreening from dominants to subordinates in juvenile males is shown and its possible social function are discussed. To further understand the communication of crows from comparative perspectives, these findings of social behaviour and its function should be integrated with physiological research on the... onto the life-history axis of this species which is characterized by drastic change of social structures between juvenile and pair-bond stages.
During domestication/evolution process of dogs, dogs have acquired human-like nonverbal communication skills, such as gaze and pointing following by humans, and gaze alternative behavior toward the owners. These skills, especially using eye gaze, are believed to promote the co-habituation of dogs in human society. Not only the communicative function of dog's eye-gaze with humans, it works as to form bonding between them. Eye-gaze from dogs to their owners increased urinary oxytocin, and the owner showed affiliative interactions with their dogs, which in turn, stimulate oxytocin release in dogs. Oxytocin is a hypothalamic neuropeptide stimulate maternal behavior as well as social interactions. Therefore, human and dogs can form a biological bonding via oxytocin positive loop in both sides. This type of positive loop was not observed in wolves, suggesting that dogs have acquired this function in their domestication process. Future behavioral genetic research will reveal the critical genes responsible for human-dog interaction, which would shed a light on the critical questions; "why", "how" and "when" dogs become a Man's best friend.
Animals, including humans, communicate by transmitting various kinds of information to each other. Although individuals of the same animal species share a channel of communication, it is sometimes difficult to explore the nature of communication between different animal species. In this study, the transmission of information between humans and horses was examined regarding the three-term contingency in behavior analysis. We introduced studies in which signals from humans are discriminative stimuli for horses, and in which signals from humans are reinforcing stimuli for horses. Possibility and difficulty of information transmission between humans and horses were discussed.
As you prepare an English presentation, your main focus should be on getting your message across to the audience effectively. Even if you do not have native-like proficiency in English, there are many other ways to make your presentation appealing. These include learning and practicing pronunciation of keywords, adopting spoken language rather than written language for your speech, increasing the readability of your slides by reducing the amount of words on them, developing a relationship with the audience, and providing variation to keep the audience attentive. It should also be noted that language and presentation style have changed over the years and will continue to change.
Recently, there have been more and more chances to talk about our study in English even in domestic conferences, symposiums or workshops in Japan. However, unfortunately, almost all of us have not received enough training for making English presentation yet. Therefore, I would like to introduce the very basics of pronunciation, making slides, way of talking and answering questions from the audience to help beginners through their first English oral presentation.