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Zh Vyssh Nerv Deiat Im I P Pavlova. 2000 Jul-Aug;50(4):676-85.

[Ant maze behavior during switch from food motivation to defense motivation].

[Article in Russian]

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Department of Higher Nervous Activity, Lomonosov State University, Moscow.


It was shown that scout ants Myrmica rubra are capable for an adequate modification of foraging habit acquired in a multichoice symmetrical maze following a reward change (syrup for the species brood). Under conditions of the high level of food motivation of a family both during learning and "examination" (i.e., brood transportation) all the ants succeed in a conditioned switchover of heterogeneous reflexes. If the high level of motivation during learnings is changed for its low level during examination, some ant do not realize the new task. The unconditioned switch (preliminary 1-3 brood takes at the start ares) facilitates the successful performance. In different experimental sessions a certain ratio was revealed between the ants realizing different ways of correct decision making. Specially developed criteria made it possible to identify different individual types of behavior during examination: transfer of acquired strategy, its gradual adaptation, and fast switchover to the new strategy. The adequate maze method and learning on the basis of specific forms of social behavior of ants (foraging, brood transportation, and exploratory activity) promote the rapid and efficient acquisition of the habit and its modification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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