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Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

Zhang S, Si A, Pahl M - Front Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well.Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation.The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Honeybees can easily be trained to perform different types of discrimination tasks under controlled laboratory conditions. This review describes a range of experiments carried out with free-flying forager honeybees under such conditions. The research done over the past 30 or so years suggests that cognitive abilities (learning and perception) in insects are more intricate and flexible than was originally imagined. It has become apparent that honeybees are capable of a variety of visually guided tasks, involving decision making under challenging situations: this includes simultaneously making use of different sensory modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and learning to use abstract concepts such as "sameness" and "difference." Many studies have shown that decision making in foraging honeybees is highly flexible. The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well. Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation. The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

No MeSH data available.


Four types of maze configurations. (A) Constant-turn maze: same turn direction in each decision chamber. (B) Zig-zag maze: alternating turns in successive decision chambers. (C) Irregular maze: random sequence of turns. (D) Variable irregular mazes: four configurations have to be learned simultaneously. Modified from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.
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Figure 5: Four types of maze configurations. (A) Constant-turn maze: same turn direction in each decision chamber. (B) Zig-zag maze: alternating turns in successive decision chambers. (C) Irregular maze: random sequence of turns. (D) Variable irregular mazes: four configurations have to be learned simultaneously. Modified from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.

Mentions: Zhang et al. (2000) explored this question by investigating the ability of bees to learn unmarked mazes of various configurations, some of them with path regularity and some of them without it. Four different configurations were used, each in a different experimental series: (a) constant-turn mazes, in which the appropriate turn is always in the same direction in each decision chamber; (b) zig-zag mazes, in which the appropriate turn is alternately left and right in successive decision chambers; (c) irregular mazes, in which there is no readily apparent pattern to the turns; and (d) variable irregular mazes, in which the bees were trained to learn four irregular mazes simultaneously (Figure 5).


Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

Zhang S, Si A, Pahl M - Front Neurosci (2012)

Four types of maze configurations. (A) Constant-turn maze: same turn direction in each decision chamber. (B) Zig-zag maze: alternating turns in successive decision chambers. (C) Irregular maze: random sequence of turns. (D) Variable irregular mazes: four configurations have to be learned simultaneously. Modified from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3376410&req=5

Figure 5: Four types of maze configurations. (A) Constant-turn maze: same turn direction in each decision chamber. (B) Zig-zag maze: alternating turns in successive decision chambers. (C) Irregular maze: random sequence of turns. (D) Variable irregular mazes: four configurations have to be learned simultaneously. Modified from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.
Mentions: Zhang et al. (2000) explored this question by investigating the ability of bees to learn unmarked mazes of various configurations, some of them with path regularity and some of them without it. Four different configurations were used, each in a different experimental series: (a) constant-turn mazes, in which the appropriate turn is always in the same direction in each decision chamber; (b) zig-zag mazes, in which the appropriate turn is alternately left and right in successive decision chambers; (c) irregular mazes, in which there is no readily apparent pattern to the turns; and (d) variable irregular mazes, in which the bees were trained to learn four irregular mazes simultaneously (Figure 5).

Bottom Line: The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well.Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation.The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Honeybees can easily be trained to perform different types of discrimination tasks under controlled laboratory conditions. This review describes a range of experiments carried out with free-flying forager honeybees under such conditions. The research done over the past 30 or so years suggests that cognitive abilities (learning and perception) in insects are more intricate and flexible than was originally imagined. It has become apparent that honeybees are capable of a variety of visually guided tasks, involving decision making under challenging situations: this includes simultaneously making use of different sensory modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and learning to use abstract concepts such as "sameness" and "difference." Many studies have shown that decision making in foraging honeybees is highly flexible. The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well. Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation. The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

No MeSH data available.