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To what degree can bees identify visual patterns that differ in spatial frequency?

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This study illustrates the abilities of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, to learn and differentiate between patterns solely off their spatial frequencies. Patterns were chosen based off of calculations derived from

This study illustrates the abilities of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, to learn and differentiate between patterns solely off their spatial frequencies. Patterns were chosen based off of calculations derived from the measurements of the physical construction of the apposition compound eye, which led to predictions of what the bees could theoretically see. The hypothesis was then that bees would have a visual threshold where patterns with spatial frequencies that fall below this line should be easily distinguishable, and patterns above the threshold would have scores that mimic if the bees made choices randomly. There were 9 patterns tested, all with different spatial frequencies and in the colors of black, white, and gray. The bees were tested on their learning and pattern differentiation abilities with 10 pattern comparisons, with the lower frequency of the two being associated with an unscented sucrose solution reward. The results were surprising in that the previous studies pointing towards this visual threshold were inaccurate because of some of the patterns being learning in an intermediate ability. These intermediate scores suggest that the calculations predicting what the bees could see clearly were slightly wrong because it was more likely that the bees saw those images in more of a blur, which resulted in their intermediate score. Honeybees have served as a useful model organisms over the decades with studying learning involving visual information. This study lacked in its total numbers of trials and bees tested, which could have led to incomplete results, and this showing of an intermediate score and ability. Future studies should continue in order to advance this understanding of a perceptually and cognitively advance processing animal.

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  • 2015-12