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Slime molds, like Physarum polycephalum, are an outwardly simple organism that performs complex behavior. P. polycephalum is unicellular and completely aneural, but is capable of reacting to stimulus, foraging for food, and even stores memories in its cytoskeleton, in a way that is completely alien to us and our conceptions of the way that living beings think and navigate the world around them. Whether or not slime molds are capable of genuine cognition is a hotly debated concept within the current culture surrounding the organism. We have a strong understanding of the mechanisms that drive these behaviors, but most research approaches the behavior and anatomy of the organism as that of an especially simple computer, rather than as a living, thinking creature, with the vast majority of research taking what is in my opinion a reductionist view of a complex organism. What I intend to learn is whether or not P. polycephalum, a popular and well-researched myxogastrid model species, exhibits distinct behavioral syndromes between individuals, with the objective of observing something similar to distinct personalities in an animal that has no brain as we understand it by observing correlation problem solving behaviors across multiple contexts by different individuals of the same species.
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Calabrese, Lukas Brassaï, "Behavioral Syndromes in Physarum Polycephalum" (2023). Senior Projects Spring 2023. 10.
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