Context cues eliminate retroactive interference effects in honeybees Apis mellifera

Ken Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Free flying honeybees were trained successively on two different tasks of landmark-based spatial memory. On both task 1 and task 2, the goal was at a consistent distance and direction from a cylindrical landmark. The colours of the landmarks differed for the two tasks. The target direction from the landmark in task 2 was opposite to that in task 1. The context in which task 2 took place was either the same as the task-1 context or different: being a short distance away, having different surrounding landmarks, and a different colour on the training table. After each task, the bees were tested on task 1 in the task-1 context (test 1 and test 2). If task 2 had the same context as task 1, the bees performed at chance on test 2. If task 2 had a different context, performance on test 2 was unaffected, remaining as good as on test 1. Contextual cues thus guide memory retrieval, and prevent any confusions about which response (that appropriate for task 1 or for task 2) to perform.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1019-1024
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


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