Maximally efficient prediction in the early fly visual system may support evasive flight maneuvers

Survival-critical behaviors shape neural circuits to translate sensory information into strikingly fast predictions, e.g. in escaping from a predator faster than the system’s processing delay.

We show that the fly visual system implements fast and accurate prediction of its visual experience. This provides crucial information for directing fast evasive maneuvers that unfold over just 40ms. Our work shows how this fast prediction is implemented, mechanistically, and suggests the existence of a novel sensory-motor pathway from the fly visual system to a wing steering motor neuron.

Echoing and amplifying previous work in the retina, our work hypothesizes that the efficient encoding of predictive information is a universal design principle supporting fast, natural behaviors.

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