Opendata, web and dolomites


Cognition in an Insect Brain

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 COGNIBRAINS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the COGNIBRAINS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "COGNIBRAINS" about.

data    attempted    multielectrode    underlying    unravel    imaging    neurobiological    environment    circuits    there    bees    display    wavelength    brains    honeybees    experimental    cognitive    relational    populations    architectures    fed    extensive    elemental    uncaging    characterization    modeling    discriminations    calcium    social    behavioral    tethered    miniature    perception    categorization    protocols    minimal    brain    insect    950    rescuing    virtual    forms    offers    recordings    capacities    context    selective    integrating    expand    neurons    neural    mechanisms    knockdown    hypotheses    cognition    sufficiency    models    numerosity    visual    integral    mediate    establishing    neurobiology    computational    sophisticated    combine    photon    rules    insects    despite    underpinning    neurotransmitters    linear    shown    capacity    bee    learning    uncover    elucidate    first    larger    behaving    opportunity    mediated    honeybee    breakthrough   

Project "COGNIBRAINS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
city: PARIS
postcode: 75794

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country France [FR]
 Total cost 2˙870˙339 €
 EC max contribution 2˙145˙339 € (75%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-04-01   to  2025-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

There is a common perception that larger brains mediate higher cognitive capacity. Social insects, however, demonstrate that sophisticated cognition is possible with miniature brains. Honeybees display higher-order learning such as categorization, non-linear discriminations, concept learning and numerosity, which are unique among insects. These capacities are mediated by a miniature brain with only 950 000 neurons. Despite extensive behavioral analyses, no study has attempted to elucidate the neural mechanisms underpinning the higher-order learning of bees. Our current breakthrough establishing virtual-reality protocols for tethered honeybees offers a unique opportunity to uncover the minimal circuits that mediate higher-order forms of cognitive processing in the brain of a behaving bee. We have recently shown that bees learn to solve elemental and non-elemental problems in this experimental context, which allows integrating behavioral, neurobiological and computational approaches to unravel the neural mechanisms underlying non-elemental learning in the honeybee. I will combine behavioral recordings of bees learning non-linear discriminations and relational rules in a virtual reality environment, with access to their brain via multi-photon calcium imaging and multielectrode recordings of neural populations. I will determine the neural circuits of elemental and non-elemental visual learning along the visual circuits of the bee brain, and the necessity and sufficiency of these circuits for these capacities via selective knockdown and rescuing via wavelength-selective multi-photon uncaging of neurotransmitters. Data will be fed into computational models to test hypotheses about minimal neural architectures for visual cognition, working towards whole-brain modeling. This project will expand the information available on the neurobiology of insect learning, and will provide the first integral characterization of the mechanisms underlying cognition in a miniature brain.

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