Home > Papers from 2012 > The importance of training regimes for experiments about search

The importance of training regimes for experiments about search

The use of one-dimensional channels has been a major tool for people researching path integration and distance measurement in ants and bees. One quirky result, found with the Australian desert ant was that ants exhibited a systematic drift in the feeder-nest direction during a search. Previously, it was hard to interpret this result because during training the nest was at the end of the training channel, so that the drift might have been a function of the training set-up rather than being an adaptive part of ants’ searches. This paper from Schwarz et al investigates this result further by looking at searches following different training conditions, for instance ants being naive or ants being required to locate an exit on the side of the channel during training. It was found that the search drift of ants in channels is not a fixed stereotypical part of the search and depends on the foregoing training condition. The obvious question following this result is to ask whether the drift comes from in interaction with ants attempts to learn a visual route or whether ants are able to learn and implement a procedural instruction, such as continue till the end of the channel.

Sebastian Schwarz, Patrick Schultheiss, Ken Cheng (2012) Visual cue learning and odometry in guiding the search behavior of desert ants, Melophorus bagoti, in artificial channels. Behavioural Processes. In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 1 October 2012

Categories: Papers from 2012
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