Cycle-to-cycle variability as an optimal behavioral strategy.

TitleCycle-to-cycle variability as an optimal behavioral strategy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBrezina V, Proekt A, Weiss KR
Date Published2006 Jun 1

Aplysia feeding behavior is highly variable from cycle to cycle. In some cycles, when the variability causes a mismatch between the animal's movements and the requirements of the feeding task, the variability makes the behavior unsuccessful. We propose that the behavior is variable nevertheless because the variability serves a higher-order functional purpose. When the animal is faced with a new and only imperfectly known feeding task in each cycle, the variability implements a trial-and-error search through the space of possible feeding movements. Over many cycles, this may be the animal's optimal strategy in an uncertain and changing feeding environment.

Alternate JournalNeurocomputing
PubMed ID19830256
PubMed Central IDPMC2760769
Grant ListR01 NS041497-05A1 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States