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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.


Learning the concept of “sameness” in the visual modality. (A) Maze setup with geometric patterns as sample and matching stimuli. (B) Maze setup with colors as sample and matching stimuli. (C) After learning geometric pattern matching (left panel), the bees were immediately able to solve the color matching task as well (right panel). Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.
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Figure 11: Learning the concept of “sameness” in the visual modality. (A) Maze setup with geometric patterns as sample and matching stimuli. (B) Maze setup with colors as sample and matching stimuli. (C) After learning geometric pattern matching (left panel), the bees were immediately able to solve the color matching task as well (right panel). Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.

Mentions: Giurfa et al. (2001) examined whether honeybees could learn the concepts of “sameness” and “difference.” The apparatus used in the experiments was similar to that used for the SDMTS tasks. Bees were trained on sectored and ring patterns, as shown in Figure 11A. That is, they had to learn to choose the sectored or the ring pattern in the decision chamber, according to whether the sample stimulus at the entrance was the sectored or the ring pattern. The bees learned this task well, showing a clear ability to choose the matching stimulus in each case (Figure 11C, left-hand panel). The trained bees were then subjected to a transfer test, as shown in Figure 11B, where the stimuli were two colors, blue and yellow. The bees were immediately able to transfer the matching task to the colors, despite the fact they had never been trained on them (Figure 11C, right-hand panel). They were also able to transfer the matching ability to other novel stimuli, such as gratings oriented at +45° and −45° (data not shown).


Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

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

Learning the concept of “sameness” in the visual modality. (A) Maze setup with geometric patterns as sample and matching stimuli. (B) Maze setup with colors as sample and matching stimuli. (C) After learning geometric pattern matching (left panel), the bees were immediately able to solve the color matching task as well (right panel). Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 11: Learning the concept of “sameness” in the visual modality. (A) Maze setup with geometric patterns as sample and matching stimuli. (B) Maze setup with colors as sample and matching stimuli. (C) After learning geometric pattern matching (left panel), the bees were immediately able to solve the color matching task as well (right panel). Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.
Mentions: Giurfa et al. (2001) examined whether honeybees could learn the concepts of “sameness” and “difference.” The apparatus used in the experiments was similar to that used for the SDMTS tasks. Bees were trained on sectored and ring patterns, as shown in Figure 11A. That is, they had to learn to choose the sectored or the ring pattern in the decision chamber, according to whether the sample stimulus at the entrance was the sectored or the ring pattern. The bees learned this task well, showing a clear ability to choose the matching stimulus in each case (Figure 11C, left-hand panel). The trained bees were then subjected to a transfer test, as shown in Figure 11B, where the stimuli were two colors, blue and yellow. The bees were immediately able to transfer the matching task to the colors, despite the fact they had never been trained on them (Figure 11C, right-hand panel). They were also able to transfer the matching ability to other novel stimuli, such as gratings oriented at +45° and −45° (data not shown).

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.