Honeybee cognition as a tool for scientific engagement

Jai A. Denton, Ivan Koludarov, Michele Thompson, Jarosław Bryk, Mariana Velasque

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Apis mellifera (honeybees) are a well-established model for the study of learning and cognition. A robust conditioning protocol, the olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension response (PER), provides a powerful but straightforward method to examine the impact of varying stimuli on learning performance. Herein, we provide a protocol that leverages PER for classroom-based community or student engagement. Specifically, we detail how a class of high school students, as part of the Ryukyu Girls Outreach Program, examined the effects of caffeine and dopamine on learning performance in honeybees. Using a modified version of the PER conditioning protocol, they demonstrated that caffeine, but not dopamine, significantly reduced the number of trials required for a successful conditioning response. In addition to providing an engaging and educational scientific activity, it could be employed, with careful oversight, to garner considerable reliable data examining the effects of varying stimuli on honeybee learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number842
    Number of pages12
    JournalInsects
    Volume12
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2021

    Keywords

    • Associative learning
    • Citizen science
    • Honeybee cognition
    • Honeybee learning
    • Memory
    • Proboscis extension response

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