Honeybees can discriminate between Monet and Picasso paintings

Wu, Wen, Moreno, Antonio M., Tangen, Jason M. and Reinhard, Judith (2013) Honeybees can discriminate between Monet and Picasso paintings. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 199 1: 45-55. doi:10.1007/s00359-012-0767-5


Author Wu, Wen
Moreno, Antonio M.
Tangen, Jason M.
Reinhard, Judith
Title Honeybees can discriminate between Monet and Picasso paintings
Journal name Journal of Comparative Physiology A   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0340-7594
1432-1351
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00359-012-0767-5
Volume 199
Issue 1
Start page 45
End page 55
Total pages 11
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Honeybees (Apis mellifera) have remarkable visual learning and discrimination abilities that extend beyond learning simple colours, shapes or patterns. They can discriminate landscape scenes, types of flowers, and even human faces. This suggests that in spite of their small brain, honeybees have a highly developed capacity for processing complex visual information, comparable in many respects to vertebrates. Here, we investigated whether this capacity extends to complex images that humans distinguish on the basis of artistic style: Impressionist paintings by Monet and Cubist paintings by Picasso. We show that honeybees learned to simultaneously discriminate between five different Monet and Picasso paintings, and that they do not rely on luminance, colour, or spatial frequency information for discrimination. When presented with novel paintings of the same style, the bees even demonstrated some ability to generalize. This suggests that honeybees are able to discriminate Monet paintings from Picasso ones by extracting and learning the characteristic visual information inherent in each painting style. Our study further suggests that discrimination of artistic styles is not a higher cognitive function that is unique to humans, but simply due to the capacity of animals—from insects to humans—to extract and categorize the visual characteristics of complex images.
Keyword Honeybee
Learning
Vision
Discrimination
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 18 October 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2013 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Created: Sat, 20 Oct 2012, 19:10:22 EST by Dr Jason Tangen on behalf of School of Psychology