Visual modulation of olfactory learning in honeybees

Bertram Gerber, Brian Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use classical conditioning of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) proboscis extension reflex with a visual (A) and an olfactory (X) conditioned stimulus in a blocking paradigm. Typically, learning about one element (X) of a compound (AX) is decreased (blocked) if the other component (A) has previously been rewarded alone. Our results show that visual pretraining did not produce blocking in honeybees: instead, forward pairings of A with a reward increased subsequent learning about X relative to a backward pairing control. This finding violates the independence assumption, which holds that elements of inter-modal compound stimuli change associative strength independently of each other. Furthermore, iris at odds with common theories of conditioning that predict blocking and assume that the elements of a compound stimulus rely on one common internal reinforcing signal. Taking the functional anatomy of the honeybee brain into account, we suggest that vision and olfaction may not rely on the same internal reinforcing signal; compound interactions might thus reflect the wiring of the honeybee nervous system and the biological significance of different sensory modalities during natural behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2213-2217
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume201
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

honeybee
honey bees
learning
Learning
Classical Conditioning
Smell
Bees
Iris
Reward
conditioning
Nervous System
Reflex
Anatomy
iris (eyes)
olfaction
proboscis
conditioned behavior
Brain
nervous system
smell

Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • Blocking
  • Classical conditioning
  • Honeybee
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Olfaction
  • Reinforcement processing
  • Reward processing
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Visual modulation of olfactory learning in honeybees. / Gerber, Bertram; Smith, Brian.

In: Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 201, No. 14, 07.1998, p. 2213-2217.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gerber, Bertram ; Smith, Brian. / Visual modulation of olfactory learning in honeybees. In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 1998 ; Vol. 201, No. 14. pp. 2213-2217.
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