Dragonflies Have the Ability of Selective Attention

Dragonflies Have the Ability of Selective Attention

Dragonflies, and possibly other insects as well, are able to use what is called “selective attention.” This means that dragonflies are capable of experiencing many stimuli at one time, but are able to focus on just one stimulus while abandoning all others.  This indicates some degree of conscious processing since the dragonfly makes a sort of choice as to what is important and not important in their environment.

Researchers in Australia conducted an experiment with a dragonfly that involved freezing the dragonfly and then studying its brain processes while exposing the dragonfly to a variety of different moving objects.  The researchers found that the dragonfly was able to hone in on one object of particular importance to the dragonfly and forget about all others like they were no longer present.  This neural activity is quite similar to the neural activity of humans.  So there is something to consider before stepping on that dragonfly that you find on your deck.

Have you ever noticed a dragonfly paying particular attention to one thing?

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Smithereen Pest Management provides IPM pest services to residential and commercial clients in Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. http://www.smithereen.com/
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