Salience of multisensory feedback regulates behavioral variability

Muhammed Seyda Comertler, Ismail Uyanik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Many animal behaviors are robust to dramatic variations in morphophysiological features, both across and within individuals. The control strategies that animals use to achieve such robust behavioral performances are not known. Recent evidence suggests that animals rely on sensory feedback rather than precise tuning of neural controllers for robust control. Here we examine the structure of sensory feedback, including multisensory feedback, for robust control of animal behavior. We re-examined two recent datasets of refuge tracking responses of Eigenmannia virescens, a species of weakly electric fish. Eigenmannia rely on both the visual and electrosensory cues to track the position of a moving refuge. The datasets include experiments that varied the strength of visual and electrosensory signals. Our analyses show that increasing the salience (perceptibility) of visual or electrosensory signals resulted in more robust and precise behavioral responses. Further, we find that robust performance was enhanced by multisensory integration of simultaneous visual and electrosensory cues. These findings suggest that engineers may achieve better system performance by improving the salience of multisensory feedback rather than solely focusing on precisely tuned controllers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016006
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


  • behavioral variability
  • sensorimotor control
  • sensory feedback
  • sensory salience
  • weakly electric fish


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