An analysis of synthetic processing of odor mixtures in the honeybee (Apis mellifera)

Sathees Chandra, Brian H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Both sensory transduction and central processing of odor mixtures can give rise to several different kinds of interaction, which can influence how well individual components are perceived and processed. In particular, odor mixtures are believed to give rise to 'configural' or 'synthetic' properties that are not characteristic of the components. However, the exact nature of these effects, particularly with regard to their expression in behavior, remains to be examined in detail. Here we use feature-negative and transwitching conditioning paradigms to show that honeybees can use configural cues in odor processing. However, the nature of these configural cues is not similar to that predicted by some models of conditioning. We propose that configural models may be capable of accounting for a substantial portion of odor mixture processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3113-3121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Apis mellifera
  • Configuration
  • Feature-negative
  • Honeybee
  • Learning
  • Odour mixtures
  • Olfaction
  • Proboscis extension conditioning
  • Transwitching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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