Cognition and memory

Since the 1980’s, NECC has developed an international reputation for great expertise in the study of cephalopod cognition. The capacity for prey recognition/categorization in juveniles is explored, particularly the perceptive elements on which these processes are based (movements, shape, contrast…). NECC investigates the plasticity of spatial cognition (using 3D mazes) and the maturation of relevant brain structures (namely the vertical lobe system and the optic lobes). Visual imprinting to crab-type prey occurs both in embryos and hatchlings we are interested in determining the prey characteristics relevant to the imprinting process (movement, shape, contrast, light polarization), and investigate the long-term effects of imprinting on juvenile prey-preference. Long-term memory of an operant task (reference memory) develops progressively in juvenile cuttlefish. Recently, we demonstrated that episodic-like memory would exist in adults. We plan to expand this research from a developmental standpoint. Along with the investigations of imprinting described above, studies of brain maturation allow us to determine whether imprinting/reference memory/episodic memory have similar neural bases.