Using an abstract geometry in virtual reality to explore choice behaviour: visual flicker preferences in honeybees

Van De Poll, Matthew N., Zajaczkowski, Esmi L., Taylor, Gavin J., Srinivasan, Mandyam V. and van Swinderen, Bruno (2015) Using an abstract geometry in virtual reality to explore choice behaviour: visual flicker preferences in honeybees. Journal of Experimental Biology, 218 21: 3448-3460. doi:10.1242/jeb.125138

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Author Van De Poll, Matthew N.
Zajaczkowski, Esmi L.
Taylor, Gavin J.
Srinivasan, Mandyam V.
van Swinderen, Bruno
Title Using an abstract geometry in virtual reality to explore choice behaviour: visual flicker preferences in honeybees
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication date 2015-09-07
Year available 1993
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.125138
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 218
Issue 21
Start page 3448
End page 3460
Total pages 13
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher The Company of Biologists
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Closed-loop paradigms provide an effective approach to studying visual choice behaviour and attention in small animals. Different flying and walking paradigms have been developed to investigate behavioural and neuronal responses to competing stimuli in insects such as bees and flies. However, the variety of stimulus choices that can be presented over one experiment is often limited. Current choice paradigms are mostly constrained as single binary choice scenarios that are influenced by the linear structure of classical conditioning paradigms. Here, we present a novel behavioural choice paradigm that allows animals to explore a closed geometry of interconnected binary choices by repeatedly selecting among competing objects, thereby revealing stimulus preferences in an historical context. We employed our novel paradigm to investigate visual flicker preferences in honeybees (Apis mellifera), and found significant preferences for 20-25Hz flicker and avoidance of higher (50-100Hz) and lower (2-4Hz) flicker frequencies. Similar results were found when bees were presented with three simultaneous choices instead of two, and when they were given the chance to select previously rejected choices. Our results show that honeybees can discriminate among different flicker frequencies, and that their visual preferences are persistent even under different experimental conditions. Interestingly, avoided stimuli were more attractive if they were novel, suggesting that novelty salience can override innate preferences. Our recursive virtual reality environment provides a new approach to studying visual discrimination and choice behaviour in behaving animals.
Keyword Behavioral Sciences
Behavioral Sciences
Neurosciences & Neurology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 18 Sep 2015, 21:17:31 EST by Susan Day on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute