Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #453
CE Offered: PSY
Experimental Access to the Cognitive World of Honey Bees: Lessons From a Miniature Brain
Monday, May 27, 2024
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon H
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Marco Vasconcelos (University of Aveiro)
CE Instructor: Marco Vasconcelos, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: MARTIN GIURFA (Sorbonne University)

Despite having a 1 mm3 brain, honey bees exhibit a sophisticated behavioral repertoire. Bees learn and memorize multiple sensory cues related to flowers. Yet, besides being useful models for the study of simple forms of associative learning, they have emerged as attractive organisms for the study of higher-order forms of learning, both in the visual and in the olfactory domains. In the last two decades, our work has indeed revealed that these insects possess unsuspected cognitive capacities, which include category and concept learning, numerosity and the solving of non-linear discriminations, among others. All these phenomena are experimentally accessible via controlled laboratory protocols, which, in some cases, allow uncovering the underlying neural circuits Here I will discuss some of these findings and provide insights into their mechanistic bases, whenever this turned to be possible. In doing this, I will highlight experimental challenges and suggest future directions for investigating the neurobiology of higher-order learning in insects, with the goal of uncovering basic neural architectures underlying cognitive processing.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

The talk will be accessible to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to established scientists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the interest of a comparative agenda in the study of learning and memory; (2) appreciate the cognitive sophistication of miniature brains; (3) realize the importance of environnemental protection and responsible environmental policies to preserve these and other brains.
MARTIN GIURFA (Sorbonne University)
Martin Giurfa is an Argentinean-French neurobiologist and neuroethologist (born September 1962), member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Académie royale des sciences, des lettres et des beaux-arts de Belgique, and the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). He is acknowledged for his work on the neural mechanisms of cognition in invertebrates, which he mostly explores using honeybees as models for understanding basic principles of learning and memory.



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