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Meta-control in pigeons individual data


Manns, Martina (2020), Meta-control in pigeons individual data, Dryad, Dataset,


In situations where the two sides of the brain process contradicting information that leads to incompatible response options, the brain requires efficient conflict-solving mechanisms. Such conflicts can arise particularly in lateralized brains, in which the hemispheres differ in coding strategies or in focus of attention and hence, consider different information for decision-making. Meta-control, in which one hemisphere constantly dominates response selection independent from its processing competence, can be a mechanism, which minimizes interhemispheric interferences and ensures fast behavioral reactions. We therefore confronted pigeons with a task in which two stimulus classes were brought into conflict. In this situation, pigeons display individual meta-control despite equal categorization performances of both brain hemispheres. Thus, hemispheric dominance arises specifically in interhemispheric conflict situations. As a signature of the underlying neuronal mechanisms, analysis of response latencies indicate that conflict decisions rely on intrahemispheric processes. Interhemispheric components play a role for more complex decisions when the left and right hemispheres adopt differential analysis strategies for decision-making. Such a flexible use of different neural mechanisms could enable a dynamic recruitment of hemispherical-specific neuronal circuits depending on computational or environmental demands and could thus be a crucial building block for the evolutionary success of a lateralized brain.