Fish psychology: Spatial navigation, social cognition, attention and decision-making
Unsurprisingly, even fish larvae make important choices in life. A few examples: When they are hungry, they are more eager to chase after objects that are normally perceived as threatening. When they are stressed, they may become anxious or unresponsive. When they remember a place where they have recently found food, they are more likely to return there. Our group is investigating these elementary manifestations of motivation and emotion in the fish brain. We are also interested in the integration of higher-order stimuli, such as complex spatial relationships in a maze and the image of other fish, and hope to find neural and genetic underpinnings of such cognitive processes in this tiny vertebrate brain.