This chapter discusses five principles for how sensorimotor behaviors are learned and performed by rats, based on new findings from neuroscience. It focuses on nonvibrissal somatosensory processing but also considers examples from the whisker-tactile system or from other sensory modalities. These principles are: (i) analyzed somatosensory feedback information is constantly influencing the ascending somatosensory data stream in rats; (ii) rats are constantly evaluating information across multiple timescales to more accurately predict what will happen in their world; (iii) information from multiple spatial scales is processed simultaneously in the rat; (iv) rat sensory and motor processing are constantly influencing one another; and (v) rat behaviors appear to be organized into survival-related repertoires that can be adapted to novel circumstances.
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