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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 “difference”. Setup similar to Figure 11, but the bees are rewarded for choosing the non-matching pattern. (A) Acquisition curve during the training phase. (B) Results of the transfer tests, after the bees were trained on color, and (C) after the bees were trained on patterns. Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.
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Figure 12: Learning the concept of “difference”. Setup similar to Figure 11, but the bees are rewarded for choosing the non-matching pattern. (A) Acquisition curve during the training phase. (B) Results of the transfer tests, after the bees were trained on color, and (C) after the bees were trained on patterns. Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.

Mentions: Finally, bees can also learn the concept of “difference.” That is, they can be trained to choose the non-matching stimulus, rather than the matching one. Figure 12A shows learning curves obtained in two experiments investigating this capability. In one experiment, the training stimuli were colors (blue and yellow). Here, bees had to learn to choose yellow in the decision chamber when they encountered blue at the entrance, and vice versa. In another experiment, the training stimuli were linear gratings, oriented horizontally and vertically. There, bees had to learn to choose the vertical grating in the decision chamber when they encountered a horizontal grating at the entrance, and vice versa. It is evident from Figure 12A that the bees learned both non-matching tasks well. Furthermore, in each case the trained bees were immediately able to transfer the learned, non-matching concept to novel stimuli. Bees trained on the colors were able to perform non-matching on the gratings, and vice versa (Figures 12B,C).


Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

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

Learning the concept of “difference”. Setup similar to Figure 11, but the bees are rewarded for choosing the non-matching pattern. (A) Acquisition curve during the training phase. (B) Results of the transfer tests, after the bees were trained on color, and (C) after the bees were trained on patterns. 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 12: Learning the concept of “difference”. Setup similar to Figure 11, but the bees are rewarded for choosing the non-matching pattern. (A) Acquisition curve during the training phase. (B) Results of the transfer tests, after the bees were trained on color, and (C) after the bees were trained on patterns. Modified from Giurfa et al. (2001). Details in text.
Mentions: Finally, bees can also learn the concept of “difference.” That is, they can be trained to choose the non-matching stimulus, rather than the matching one. Figure 12A shows learning curves obtained in two experiments investigating this capability. In one experiment, the training stimuli were colors (blue and yellow). Here, bees had to learn to choose yellow in the decision chamber when they encountered blue at the entrance, and vice versa. In another experiment, the training stimuli were linear gratings, oriented horizontally and vertically. There, bees had to learn to choose the vertical grating in the decision chamber when they encountered a horizontal grating at the entrance, and vice versa. It is evident from Figure 12A that the bees learned both non-matching tasks well. Furthermore, in each case the trained bees were immediately able to transfer the learned, non-matching concept to novel stimuli. Bees trained on the colors were able to perform non-matching on the gratings, and vice versa (Figures 12B,C).

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.