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Pages 765-772
First published 2 September 2013

The Insect Mushroom Bodies: a Paradigm of Neural Reuse

Paolo Arena, Luca Patanè, Roland Strauss


This paper is devoted to discuss the implementation of models, which are inspired by the fly Drosophila melanogaster and able to handle open problems in the field of robotics such as attention, expectation and sequence learning. The role of the Mushroom Bodies (MBs) in solving these tasks is analyzed in detail and a unifying plausible biologically inspired model is proposed. The developed neural structure is able to show different capabilities in line with the paradigm of neural reuse. The same neural circuit can be exploited to accomplish multiple tasks showing interesting capabilities such as attention, expectation and delayed match-to-sample. The simulation results here reported suggest at the same time new neurobiological experiments suited to better understand the underlying mechanisms, to verify the hypotheses formulated and to prove the biological significance of the results.