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Associative Mechanisms Allow for Social Learning and Cultural Transmission of String Pulling in an Insect [PLOS Biology]

Keywords : bees, flowers, learning, foraging, bumblebees, legs, behavior, culture

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Social insects make elaborate use of simple mechanisms to achieve seemingly complex behavior and may thus provide a unique resource to discover the basic cognitive elements required for culture, i.e., group-specific behaviors that spread from “innovators” to others in the group via social learning. We first explored whether bumblebees can learn a nonnatural object manipulation task by using string pulling to access a reward that was presented out of reach. Only a small minority “innovated” and solved the task spontaneously, but most bees were able to learn to pull a string when trained in a stepwise manner.(...)

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