Home > Papers from 2013 > The learning of social learning

The learning of social learning

It has long been known that bees are attracted to flowers where other bees are currently feeding. Indeed, it has also been shown that bees can learn rewarding flower colours through the observation of conspecifics feeding on a particular flower. The question at the heart of this paper (Dawson et al.) is whether such social learning is an example of second order conditioning. In order to assess this, bees were allowed to feed in the presence of model bees – thus making an association between conspecifics and reward. These bees were then allowed to observe model bees on coloured feeders, when tested subsequently they preferred the flower colour that had been indicated by the model. Naive bees (that had not experienced an association between conspecifics and reward) showed no colour preference. By demonstrating that prior experience, of conspecifics paired with reward, is necessary for social learning, Dawson et al. claim it is a function of second order conditioning – rather than an innate process.
Erika H. Dawson, Aurore Avarguès-Weber, Lars Chittka, Ellouise Leadbeater (2013) Learning by Observation Emerges from Simple Associations in an Insect Model. Current Biology – 04 April 2013


Categories: Papers from 2013
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s