Our new paper titled "Geometry-based navigation in the dark: Layout symmetry facilitates spatial learning in the house cricket, Acheta domesticus, in the absence of visual cues" is out in Animal Cognition, one of the best journals publishing research in the scope of comparative psychology and cognitive processing of non-human animals.
Abstract: The capacity to navigate by layout geometry has been widely recognized as a robust strategy of place-finding. It has been reported in various species, although most studies were performed with vision-based paradigms. In the presented study, we aimed to investigate layout symmetry-based navigation in the house cricket, Acheta domesticus, in the absence of visual cues. For this purpose, we used a non-visual paradigm modeled on the Tennessee Williams setup. We ensured that the visual cues were indeed inaccessible to insects. In the main experiment, we tested whether crickets are capable of learning to localize the centrally positioned, inconspicuous cool spot in heated arenas of various shapes (i.e., circular, square, triangular, and asymmetric quadrilateral). We found that the symmetry of the arena significantly facilitates crickets’ learning to find the cool spot, indicated by the increased time spent on the cool spot and the decreased latency in locating it in subsequent trials. To investigate mechanisms utilized by crickets, we analyzed their approach paths to the spot. We found that crickets used both heuristic and directed strategies of approaching the target, with the dominance of a semi-directed strategy (i.e., a thigmot- actic phase preceding direct navigation to the target). We propose that the poor performance of crickets in the asymmetrical quadrilateral arena may be explained by the difficulty of encoding its layout with cues from a single modality
Our new paper is available in open access mode:
Baran, B., Krzyżowski, M., Rádai, Z., Francikowski, J., & Hohol, M. (2022). Geometry-based navigation in the dark: Layout symmetry facilitates spatial learning in the house cricket, Acheta domesticus, in the absence of visual cues. Animal Cognition. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-022-01712-7
Also, we shared open science materials through Open Science Framework.