Dopaminergic mechanisms of visual selective attention in the fly (2014–2016)
What we pay attention to guides our behaviour. There is increasing evidence that even the smallest animals, such as insects, have a selective attention. Neuromodulators such as dopamine (DA) regulate general arousal states in flies as well as humans, but it is not well understood how DA modulates selective attention. We will genetically manipulate DA in the fly Drosophila in order to study its role in visual selective attention, by examining neural circuits (Aim1), attention behavior (Aim2), and brain recordings (Aim3). Our work will reveal whether DA mainly controls general responsiveness levels, or whether DA is also involved in coordinating attention dynamics. This study has important implications for understanding attention disorders.