Latent inhibition in the honey bee, Apis mellifera: Is it a unitary phenomenon?

Sathees B C Chandra, Geraldine A. Wright, Brian Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Latent inhibition refers to learning that some stimuli are not signals of important events. It has been widely studied in vertebrates, but it has been substantially less well studied in invertebrates. We present an investigation into latent inhibition in the honey bee (Apis mellifera) using a proboscis extension response conditioning procedure that involved 'preexposure' of an odor without reinforcement prior to appetitive conditioning. A significant latent inhibition effect, measured in terms of a reduction in acquisition performance to the preexposed odor, was observed after 8 unreinforced presentations, and the effect continued to increase in strength up to 30 presentations. We also observed that memories formed for the preexposed odor lasted at least 24 h. Further manipulation of interstimulus interval and the visual conditioning context partially attenuated the effect. The latter results indicate that latent inhibition in honey bees may not be a unitary phenomenon. Two different mechanisms may be required, in which one mechanism is dependent on the visual context and the second is not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-815
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010


  • Context
  • Honey bee
  • Latent inhibition
  • Mechanism
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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