Home > Papers from 2015 > Memory structures for navigation

Memory structures for navigation

As we are all aware, one of the ongoing debates in our field concerns cognitive maps. Or more generally, what type of structure is needed to store the spatial knowledge of an insect forager. The major advocate of map-like representations is Randolf Menzel and in this paper he sets out his personal standpoint as arrived at via radar studies over the last 10+ years. It is actually refreshing to read a review paper like this, in that it sets out a personal view rather than trying to pay lip-service to all sides of the argument. However I can’t agree with much of the interpretation.

One interesting point is that in defining a mental map: “We view the mental map of animals including the honeybee as an “action memory of spatial relations” rather than as a sensory representation as we humans experience it by introspection.” the authors offer a glimpse that there might be a possible reconciliation between their views and those of us who favour simpler sensori-motor explanations of navigation. However, it might take much wrangling about definitions and semantics to get to that point.


Randolf Menzel and Uwe Greggers (2015) The memory structure of navigation in honeybees. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, doi: 10.1007/s00359-015-0987-6

Categories: Papers from 2015
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