Research Topic

Subjective Experience, Social learning, and Cognition in Insects and Other Invertebrates

About this Research Topic

Whether or not invertebrate species are conscious and how their learning mechanisms operate is a contentious question. This is because it is both not very clear yet what kind of evidence would be required to answer such a question, and because the implications of any concrete answer to this question would be profound and unknowable.

We are, however, certain that invertebrate species exhibit tremendous cognitive capacity, ecological diversity, and experimental tractability, and thus are ideal systems for performing interdisciplinary synthesis as regards their awareness, subjective experience, consciousness, learning and behavior, both in social insects or non-social insects.

Our aim is to highlight current research outputs on invertebrate animal species to address fundamental questions related to their behavioral expression patterns within their environment (ecological niche) and in experimental setups, focusing on the neuroscience of consciousness, phenomenal awareness, subjective experience and learning in social contexts.

We would like to create a forum to discuss issues at the intersection of neuroscientific, behavioral, cognitive, computational, artistic, and philosophical approaches to the evolution of subjective experience in animals.
We welcome contributions from neurobiologists, entomologists, invertebrate biologists, philosophers, computer scientists, and artists helping to answer these questions if possible.

We would like the following topics to be addressed:

- Social insects’ learning mechanisms vs individual learning
- Individual experience in social insects, effects on individual and collective performance
- Ant colonies as an experimental model to assess experience-dependent behaviors mechanisms
- Transcriptome profiles’ modifications/gene expression dynamic modification following memory formation experiments in invertebrates
- Habituation and associative learning in invertebrates

Given the nature of these aims, we welcome a wide range of article submissions.

We will consider relevant empirical research (especially related to neurobiology and behavioral ecology), theoretical articles presenting formal frameworks, and Perspective/Opinion/Review pieces.
Speakers, poster-presenters, and attendees of the Symposium on Subjective Experience in Insects at the International Congress of Entomology in Helsinki, 2020 (ICE2020) are encouraged to submit their work for consideration for this Research Topic. Submissions are open to all authors whose focus is consistent with the aims and questions above.

We especially welcome work from interdisciplinary teams who consider their work to provide guidance on the directions that empirical research takes in the coming years.


Keywords: Consciousness, Social Learning, Phylogenetics, Evolution, Invertebrates, Insects, Neurobiology, Behavior, Ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Whether or not invertebrate species are conscious and how their learning mechanisms operate is a contentious question. This is because it is both not very clear yet what kind of evidence would be required to answer such a question, and because the implications of any concrete answer to this question would be profound and unknowable.

We are, however, certain that invertebrate species exhibit tremendous cognitive capacity, ecological diversity, and experimental tractability, and thus are ideal systems for performing interdisciplinary synthesis as regards their awareness, subjective experience, consciousness, learning and behavior, both in social insects or non-social insects.

Our aim is to highlight current research outputs on invertebrate animal species to address fundamental questions related to their behavioral expression patterns within their environment (ecological niche) and in experimental setups, focusing on the neuroscience of consciousness, phenomenal awareness, subjective experience and learning in social contexts.

We would like to create a forum to discuss issues at the intersection of neuroscientific, behavioral, cognitive, computational, artistic, and philosophical approaches to the evolution of subjective experience in animals.
We welcome contributions from neurobiologists, entomologists, invertebrate biologists, philosophers, computer scientists, and artists helping to answer these questions if possible.

We would like the following topics to be addressed:

- Social insects’ learning mechanisms vs individual learning
- Individual experience in social insects, effects on individual and collective performance
- Ant colonies as an experimental model to assess experience-dependent behaviors mechanisms
- Transcriptome profiles’ modifications/gene expression dynamic modification following memory formation experiments in invertebrates
- Habituation and associative learning in invertebrates

Given the nature of these aims, we welcome a wide range of article submissions.

We will consider relevant empirical research (especially related to neurobiology and behavioral ecology), theoretical articles presenting formal frameworks, and Perspective/Opinion/Review pieces.
Speakers, poster-presenters, and attendees of the Symposium on Subjective Experience in Insects at the International Congress of Entomology in Helsinki, 2020 (ICE2020) are encouraged to submit their work for consideration for this Research Topic. Submissions are open to all authors whose focus is consistent with the aims and questions above.

We especially welcome work from interdisciplinary teams who consider their work to provide guidance on the directions that empirical research takes in the coming years.


Keywords: Consciousness, Social Learning, Phylogenetics, Evolution, Invertebrates, Insects, Neurobiology, Behavior, Ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 July 2020 Abstract
31 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 July 2020 Abstract
31 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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