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Honey bees keep memories of good and bad social encounters and store them in different clusters in their brains, just like us, researchers have discovered

Ha-bee memories! Honey bees remember good and bad experiences with different parts of their brains, study finds

  • Researchers have exposed honey bees to positive or negative experiences
  • These include taking care of a queen larvae and fighting an intruder bee
  • The bee brain was then extracted to see where these memories were stored
  • Both memories ended up in the so-called & # 39; mushroom bodies & # 39; of the insect brain
  • However, they were remembered in different areas, whether they were good or bad, such as in humans
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Honey bees keep memories of good and bad social encounters and keep them in different clusters in their brains, just like us, researchers have discovered.

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Researchers analyzed bee brains after being exposed to positive or negative experiences – taking care of a larva or fighting an invader.

They discovered that these memories are stored in different areas of the so-called & # 39; mushroom bodies & # 39 ;, areas of neurons that are unique to the insect brain.

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Honey bees keep memories of good and bad social encounters and store them in different clusters in their brains, just like us, researchers have discovered

Honey bees keep memories of good and bad social encounters and store them in different clusters in their brains, just like us, researchers have discovered

WHAT ARE THE MUSHROOM ORGANS?

Mushroom bodies, seen here in a fly
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Mushroom bodies, seen here in a fly

Mushroom bodies, seen here in a fly

Mushroom bodies are structures that are unique to the brains of insects, arthropods and some worms.

They appear in pairs and consist of neurons.

Mushroom bodies have been associated with various neural functions, including learning, memory and sensory integration.

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A new study from the University of Illinois has shown that good and bad memories of social encounters are stored in different regions in the mushroom body, such as in humans.

This separation between positive and negative experiences in the brain can be a fundamental characteristic of the nervous system of animals.

Invertebrates and invertebrates – animals with and without backbones – have evolved over 600 million years apart.

This has given the two genders significant differences in brain and nervous system anatomy – however, both divide memories into good and bad.

This process, which experts & # 39; valence coding & # 39; allows individuals to distinguish between negative and potentially harmful situations from possible and potentially beneficial situations.

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In vertebrates – like us humans – good and bad memories are stored in different cellular areas of the brain, suggesting that different neural circuits are used to remember positive experiences than negative ones.

Biologist Gene Robinson from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues went looking for the same for honey bees, or that their small brains reused the same neural circuit for both good and bad memories.

& # 39; We wanted to know if small-brain bees devote different parts of it to processing social information that is both negative and positive, & # 39; said professor Robinson Newsweek.

To find out, the researchers exposed honey bees to either the positive experience of caring for a 4-day-old queen bee larvae, or the negative experience of encountering an & # 39; intruder & # 39; before – they were decapitated and their brains were extracted.

The researchers then examined the brain to find the most recently active regions – allowing them to map where the honey bees stored the positive and negative social interactions.

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& # 39; We used genes that respond very quickly to new stimuli as markers to see which parts of the brain are activated for each type of stimulus & # 39 ;, Professor Robinson told Newsweek.

Researchers have exposed honey bees to the positive experience of caring for a 4-day-old queen bee larvae, or the negative experience of encountering an & # 39; intruder & # 39; as if they are at the entrance to their hive - before they are decapitated and their brains are extracted

Researchers have exposed honey bees to the positive experience of caring for a 4-day-old queen bee larvae, or the negative experience of encountering an & # 39; intruder & # 39; as if they are at the entrance to their hive - before they are decapitated and their brains are extracted

Researchers have exposed honey bees to the positive experience of caring for a 4-day-old queen bee larvae, or the negative experience of encountering an & # 39; intruder & # 39; as if they are at the entrance to their hive – before they are decapitated and their brains are extracted

The researchers discovered that, just like with us, the good and bad experiences were stored in different parts of the so-called & # 39; mushroom bodies & # 39; – paired structures in the brains of insects made up of neurons that & # 39; Kenyon cells & # 39; are called.

& # 39; We discovered that bees devote different parts of their brain to processing social information that is both negative and positive & # 39 ;, Professor Robinson told Newsweek.

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& # 39; This discovery is striking considering their small brains; we did not expect such spatial segregation when processing social information of different valence. & # 39;

The findings, the researchers conclude, suggest that the separate storage of positive and negative experiences in the brain can be a fundamental characteristic of animal nervous systems.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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