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Trends Neurosci. 1997 Jun;20(6):245-52.

The neural basis of associative reward learning in honeybees.

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Institut für Neurobiologie, FU Berlin, Germany.


Appetitive learning of food-predicting stimuli, an essential part of foraging behavior in honeybees, follows the rules of associative learning. In the learning of odors as reward-predicting stimuli, an individual neuron, one of a small group of large ascending neurons that serve principal brain neuropiles, mediates the reward and has experience-dependent response properties. This implies that this neuron functions as an integral part of associative memory, might underlie more complex features of learning, and could participate in the implementation of learning rules. Moreover, its structural properties suggest that it organizes the interaction of functionally different neural nets during learning and experience-dependent behavior.

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