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ERIC Number: EJ767825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
A Test of Transitive Inferences in Free-Flying Honeybees: Unsuccessful Performance Due to Memory Constraints
Benard, Julie; Giurfa, Martin
Learning & Memory, v11 n3 p328-336 May 2004
We asked whether honeybees, "Apis mellifera," could solve a transitive inference problem. Individual free-flying bees were conditioned with four overlapping premise pairs of five visual patterns in a multiple discrimination task (A+ vs. B-, B+ vs. C-, C+ vs. D-, D+ vs. E-, where + and - indicate sucrose reward or absence of it, respectively). They were then tested with the nonadjacent pairs A vs. E and B vs. D. Preference of B to D is consistent with the use of the implicit hierarchy A greater than B greater than C greater than D greater than E. Equal choice of B and D supports choice based on the associative strength of the stimuli. The bees' choice was determined by their memory constraints: experience with the last premise pair (D+ vs. E-) predominated. In the tests, bees preferred A to E and chose equally B and D. An analysis of the performance in terms of a reward/penalty ratio showed that B had a higher associative strength than D. Thus, bees do not establish transitive inferences but, rather, guide their choices by the joint action of a recency effect and the associative strength of the stimuli. The former supports choice of D, whereas the latter supports choice of B, thus determining equal choice of B and D in the tests. (Contains 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A