"Our cerebral cortex functions by associating sensory information, such as smell, sound and vision, with events, and by storing these associations as memories by modifying the connection strength of neurons," Tomer explained.
"These stored memories then form the basis for making right decisions in the future. Similar mechanisms are found in invertebrates as well, where mushroom bodies are known to be largely responsible for associative learning."
He doubts, however, that invertebrates think and feel just as we do, since their brains are small and lack the "immensely large number of neurons" present in the human brain.
In the future, the scientists hope to further investigate worm brains, and those of other invertebrates, to better determine how they work and to help figure out what the brain of the last common ancestor of vertebrates and these worms might have looked like.
"Our ultimate goal is to reconstruct and understand the evolution of brains in animals, to trace their neuronal composition and their function from the very beginning of animal evolution to something as complex as today's human brain," Arendt said.