A Model of Distributed Sensorimotor Control in the Cockroach Escape Turn

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 3 (NIPS 1990)

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R.D. Beer, G. Kacmarcik, R.E. Ritzmann, H.J. Chiel


In response to a puff of wind, the American cockroach turns away and runs. The circuit underlying the initial turn of this escape response consists of three populations of individually identifiable nerve cells and appears to em(cid:173) ploy distributed representations in its operation. We have reconstructed several neuronal and behavioral properties of this system using simplified neural network models and the backpropagation learning algorithm con(cid:173) strained by known structural characteristics of the circuitry. In order to test and refine the model, we have also compared the model's responses to various lesions with the insect's responses to similar lesions.