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© Cyril FRESILLON/CRCA /CNRS Images
Retrieving fruit flies after conditioning for a memory test. For this test, the fruit flies are placed in a cylinder with six holes, with 40 flies per hole. First, they are exposed to an odour together with an immediate electric shock. They are then exposed to a different odour without any shock. This cycle is repeated several times to engage their long-term memory. The third phase, which takes place on another device, involves placing the flies between the first odour, on one side, and the second odour, on the other. It seems that the number of conditioned fruit flies that move towards the second odour (without a shock) is 30-40% higher in comparison to so-called "naive" (unconditioned) fruit flies. Other parameters can also be analysed, such as how social signals or nutrients present in food affect memory. The aim of these tests is to understand how learning works, and more specifically how neural networks function during this process.
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