ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING IN ANTS: ODOR LEARNING VS. COLOR LEARNING IN NOVOMESSOR COCKERELLI
AuthorSobol, Sky Harris
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAssociative learning is a form of learning where an animal learns to associate a stimulus with a behavioral response. Associative learning has been generated in the laboratory for many species, including insects, by using classical conditioning. Previous experiments show that ants can learn to associate odors and colors with a sugar reward. When ants are trained to associate a stimulus with a sugar reward, they exhibit the proboscis extension response (PER) to the stimulus alone, but it was unknown whether ants are better at color association or odor association. In order to test this, two separate experiments were undertaken. The first used classical conditioning to train ants to associate a sucrose solution with an odor. The second used classical conditioning to train two groups of ants. The first group was trained to associate a sucrose solution with a blue light. The second group was trained to associate a sucrose solution with a green light. For both experiments a significant percentage of ants demonstrated learning by exhibiting PER when presented solely with the odor or light. There was, however, no significant difference between the percentages of ants that demonstrated learning from the blue light, the green light, or the odor.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science