Honey Bees Remember Happy and Sad Times, Scientisits Discover

Faculty in the News: Gene Robinson, Director, Institute for Genomic Biology and Swanlund Chair of Entomology

Date

09/10/19
Gene Robinson, Director, Institute for Genomic Biology and Swanlund Chair of Entomology

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that honey bees can remember positive and negative experiences—such as taking care of their young or fending off an enemy. These memories are then stored in specific areas of their brains, according to how good or bad the experience was.

Scientists have long known that vertebrates—animals with tail bones—like ourselves are capable of storing memories of pleasure and pain in distinct brain areas such as this. However, this has never been documented before in the minds of bees.

"We wanted to know whether bees, with a tiny brain, devote different parts of it to processing social information that is either negative or positive," Gene Robinson, an author of the study from Urbana-Champaign's Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, told Newsweek.

Read full story - Newsweek