Home > Papers from 2016 > Abstract learning in ants?

Abstract learning in ants?

Over recent years, a run a papers have investigated the ability of bees to learn seemingly complex or abstract rules as part of pattern learning assays. Experiments of a similar nature have been rarer with ants, partly because visual learning assays in ants tend to be more closely related to visual navigation than pattern learning. This paper bucks that trend by using Gigantiops ants in a maze system, where visual cue cards indicate to the ants whether to turn left or right. Ants learnt to associate wide or narrow bars with turn directions in 6 chambers of a maze (3 wide bars; 3 narrow bars). In tests, either the wide or narrow bars are replaced with intermediate width bars. The prediction is that (if ants are using relative width information) ants will interpret the intermediate bar as the narrow bar, when paired with the wide bar and vice versa. The results suggest that this might be the case.

Beugnon, G., & Macquart, D. (2016). Sequential learning of relative size by the Neotropical ant Gigantiops destructor. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 1-10.

Categories: Papers from 2016
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