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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.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Time and task as contextual cues. During training, the horizontal grating stimulus in the maze and the vertical grating at the hive were rewarded in the morning, whereas in the afternoon, the vertical grating in the maze and the horizontal grating at the hive were rewarded. Shown are the choice frequencies for the horizontal grating stimulus. The trained bees reversed their stimulus preference in the maze and at the hive entrance following midday breaks, as well as overnight breaks. At the same time, the bees reversed their stimulus preference within a few minutes, and made opposing decisions between foraging and homing. The modulation of the average choice frequency, with reference to the horizontal grating, could be approximated very well by a sinusoidal curve with a frequency of 0.52, i.e., a period of 12 h. The phase of the sinusoidal curve at the hive was shifted 180° with reference to the feeder. ***Denotes p < 0.001. Modified from Zhang et al. (2006).
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Figure 13: Time and task as contextual cues. During training, the horizontal grating stimulus in the maze and the vertical grating at the hive were rewarded in the morning, whereas in the afternoon, the vertical grating in the maze and the horizontal grating at the hive were rewarded. Shown are the choice frequencies for the horizontal grating stimulus. The trained bees reversed their stimulus preference in the maze and at the hive entrance following midday breaks, as well as overnight breaks. At the same time, the bees reversed their stimulus preference within a few minutes, and made opposing decisions between foraging and homing. The modulation of the average choice frequency, with reference to the horizontal grating, could be approximated very well by a sinusoidal curve with a frequency of 0.52, i.e., a period of 12 h. The phase of the sinusoidal curve at the hive was shifted 180° with reference to the feeder. ***Denotes p < 0.001. Modified from Zhang et al. (2006).

Mentions: In the third experimental series, the bees were trained to choose a horizontal grating stimulus in the rewarded maze in the morning, and a vertical grating stimulus in the afternoon. At the same time, in order to find access to the hive, the foragers had to decide for the opposite configuration at the hive: the vertical grating granted access in the morning, and in the afternoon, the horizontal grating marked the open entrance. Figure 13 shows that the bees could solve even this very complicated task: they reversed their stimulus preference based on the time of day between morning and afternoon. At the same time, the task at hand acted as contextual cue, and enabled the bees to make opposing decisions within just a few minutes, when foraging and returning to the hive.


Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

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

Time and task as contextual cues. During training, the horizontal grating stimulus in the maze and the vertical grating at the hive were rewarded in the morning, whereas in the afternoon, the vertical grating in the maze and the horizontal grating at the hive were rewarded. Shown are the choice frequencies for the horizontal grating stimulus. The trained bees reversed their stimulus preference in the maze and at the hive entrance following midday breaks, as well as overnight breaks. At the same time, the bees reversed their stimulus preference within a few minutes, and made opposing decisions between foraging and homing. The modulation of the average choice frequency, with reference to the horizontal grating, could be approximated very well by a sinusoidal curve with a frequency of 0.52, i.e., a period of 12 h. The phase of the sinusoidal curve at the hive was shifted 180° with reference to the feeder. ***Denotes p < 0.001. Modified from Zhang et al. (2006).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 13: Time and task as contextual cues. During training, the horizontal grating stimulus in the maze and the vertical grating at the hive were rewarded in the morning, whereas in the afternoon, the vertical grating in the maze and the horizontal grating at the hive were rewarded. Shown are the choice frequencies for the horizontal grating stimulus. The trained bees reversed their stimulus preference in the maze and at the hive entrance following midday breaks, as well as overnight breaks. At the same time, the bees reversed their stimulus preference within a few minutes, and made opposing decisions between foraging and homing. The modulation of the average choice frequency, with reference to the horizontal grating, could be approximated very well by a sinusoidal curve with a frequency of 0.52, i.e., a period of 12 h. The phase of the sinusoidal curve at the hive was shifted 180° with reference to the feeder. ***Denotes p < 0.001. Modified from Zhang et al. (2006).
Mentions: In the third experimental series, the bees were trained to choose a horizontal grating stimulus in the rewarded maze in the morning, and a vertical grating stimulus in the afternoon. At the same time, in order to find access to the hive, the foragers had to decide for the opposite configuration at the hive: the vertical grating granted access in the morning, and in the afternoon, the horizontal grating marked the open entrance. Figure 13 shows that the bees could solve even this very complicated task: they reversed their stimulus preference based on the time of day between morning and afternoon. At the same time, the task at hand acted as contextual cue, and enabled the bees to make opposing decisions within just a few minutes, when foraging and returning to the hive.

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.


Related in: MedlinePlus