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ERIC Number: EJ916975
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
Color Modulates Olfactory Learning in Honeybees by an Occasion-Setting Mechanism
Mota, Theo; Giurfa, Martin; Sandoz, Jean-Christophe
Learning & Memory, v18 n3 p144-155 Mar 2011
A sophisticated form of nonelemental learning is provided by occasion setting. In this paradigm, animals learn to disambiguate an uncertain conditioned stimulus using alternative stimuli that do not enter into direct association with the unconditioned stimulus. For instance, animals may learn to discriminate odor rewarded from odor nonrewarded trials if these two situations are indicated by different colors that do not themselves become associated with the reward. Despite a growing interest in nonelemental learning in insects, no study has so far attempted to study occasion setting in restrained honeybees, although this would allow direct access to the neural basis of nonelemental learning. Here we asked whether colors can modulate olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex (PER) via an occasion-setting mechanism. We show that intact, harnessed bees are not capable of learning a direct association between color and sucrose. Despite this incapacity, bees solved an occasion-setting discrimination in which colors set the occasion for appropriate responding to an odor that was rewarded or nonrewarded depending on the color. We therefore provide the first controlled demonstration of bimodal (color-odor) occasion setting in harnessed honeybees, which opens the door for studying the neural basis of such bimodal, nonelemental discriminations in insects.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A