Decision Making in Crickets: Behavioral Choice and Neuronal Correlates

Animals and humans have to make decisions in choice situations of variable context to maximize their utility function. These decisions are often complicated by the fact that there are several available options which differ in a number of attributes, and that no single option is superior over others. The present proposal suggests a model system which allows testing predictions following absolute and relative decision making both in behavior and at the neuronal level, using female crickets and their decision in acoustic mate choice behavior. Since previous work has shown that mate choice in females is based on the evaluation of activity in only two identified pairs of interneurons, we can use a combination of behavioural and neurophysiological tools to test a number of current hypotheses on decision making. We will determine the response- and trade-off functions for different attributes of an acoustic signal in a choice situation and can then test, whether the decision circuitry in the female is based on absolute standards or on relative ones. These experimental series will enable us to determine whether the processing of acoustic signals takes places in a serial or parallel manner with respect to recognition and localization. Arena trials and outdoor tests will link decision making in a standard environment to a more complex and realistic context. Linking the results of behavioural tests to neuronal activity we will be able to test different hypotheses about the neural computation based on the discharge patterns in two opposing neurons underlying decision making.

Principal Investigators
Hennig, Matthias Prof. Dr. rer. nat. (Details) (Behavioral Physiology)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2013
End date: 11/2016

Projektbezogene Publikationen (Auswahl)

(2015) Decision making and preferences for acoustic signals in choice situations by female crickets. J Exp Biol. 218:2641‐50
Gabel E, Kuntze J, Hennig RM
(Siehe online unter

(2016) A gain control mechanism governs the weighting of acoustic signal intensity and attractiveness during female decisions. Anim Behav 122, 197‐205
Gabel E, Vural P, Mariot L, Hennig RM
(Siehe online unter

(2016) Dissecting the contribution of sensory cues to directional responses by female crickets in a two‐loudspeaker paradigm. J Insect Behav 29: 666 ‐ 679
Hennig RM
(Siehe online unter‐016‐9588‐7)

(2016) Evidence for comparative decision making in female crickets. Behav. Ecol.
Gabel E, Hennig RM
(Siehe online unter

(2016) How females of chirping and trilling field crickets integrate the ‚what‘ and ‚where‘ of male acoustic signals during decision making. J Comp Physiol A, 202: 823 ‐ 837
Gabel E, Gray DA, Hennig RM
(Siehe online unter

(2016) Multivariate female preference tests reveal latent perceptual biases. Proc Roy Soc B 283, 20161972
Gray DA, Gabel E, Blankers T, Hennig RM
(Siehe online unter

Last updated on 2020-25-11 at 10:46