Week 7: Sensory Integration

Last week we finished up the coding of mechanosensory stimulation. This week, we are finally able to observe the effects of  combining odor stimulation with mechanosensory stimulation.

 

In order to do this, we had both an odor pulse and a mechanosensory input occur at the 1 second mark of the simulation. Both of these stimulations end at the 2 second mark. The raster plot resulting from this simulation is shown below.

 

Raster

 

As the Raster plot shows, overlaying the two stimulations on top of each other leads to a mixture of the two behavioral responses. The initial response is ephemeral, and has a very high firing rate. After this initial response, there is a prolonged, slightly lower firing rate response in the PNs within glomeruli receiving odor stimulation. It is also worth noting that glomeruli that didn’t receive odor stimulation simply exhibited the normal mechanosensory response.

 

Overall, it was reassuring to see that combining the two stimulations didn’t destroy the dynamics of our simulated Antennal Lobe. In fact, the behavior we observed seemed to match the behavior of preliminary studies. With our model now in place, we are able to begin attempting to answer many questions regarding sensory perception. For example, is an organism able to distinguish different scents to a higher degree in the absence of mechanosensory stimulation, or with it present? How does mechanosensory stimulation affect the timescale of sensory perception? We hope to answer many of these questions in the coming year.

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