Neuroscientists develop models to identify internal states of the brain

Monday, Nov 25, 2019
by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

Imagine an attractive person walking toward you. Do you look up and smile? Turn away? Approach but avoid eye contact? The setup is the same, but the outcomes depend entirely on your “internal state,” which includes your mood, your past experiences, and countless other variables that are invisible to someone watching the scene.

So how can an observer decode internal states by watching outward behaviors? That was the challenge facing a team of Princeton neuroscientists. Rather than tackling the intricacies of human brains, they investigated fruit flies with fewer behaviors and, one imagines, fewer internal states. They built on prior work studying the songs and movements of amorous Drosophila melanogaster males.

Read the story on the Discovery: Research at Princeton blog.