An associative learning experiment using the plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum

Tomohiro Shirakawa*, Yukio Pegio Gunji, Yoshihiro Miyake

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum is a unicellular and multinuclear giant amoeba that shows adaptive behaviors. To test the presence of memory and learning ability in the plasmodium, we performed an associative learning experiment using the unicellular organism. The plasmodium in this experiment seemed to acquire a reversed thermotactic property, a new preference for the lower temperature. The result implied a possibility of unicellular learning, though in a preliminary way. We also discuss a possible mechanism of learning by the organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalNano Communication Networks
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell motility
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Physarum polycephalum
  • Taxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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