Does Holistic Processing Require A Large Brain? Insights From Honeybees And Wasps In Fine Visual Recognition Tasks

Avargues-Weber, A, D'Amaro, D, Finke, V, Baracchi, D and Dyer, A 2018, 'Does Holistic Processing Require A Large Brain? Insights From Honeybees And Wasps In Fine Visual Recognition Tasks', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, no. NA, pp. 1-9.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Does Holistic Processing Require A Large Brain? Insights From Honeybees And Wasps In Fine Visual Recognition Tasks
Author(s) Avargues-Weber, A
D'Amaro, D
Finke, V
Baracchi, D
Dyer, A
Year 2018
Journal name Frontiers in Psychology
Volume number 9
Issue number NA
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Abstract The expertise of humans for recognizing faces is largely based on holistic processing mechanism, a sophisticated cognitive process that develops with visual experience. The various visual features of a face are thus glued together and treated by the brain as a unique stimulus, facilitating robust recognition. Holistic processing is known to facilitate fine discrimination of highly similar visual stimuli, and involves specialized brain areas in humans and other primates. Although holistic processing is most typically employed with face stimuli, subjects can also learn to apply similar image analysis mechanisms when gaining expertise in discriminating novel visual objects, like becoming experts in recognizing birds or cars. Here, we ask if holistic processing with expertise might be a mechanism employed by the comparatively miniature brains of insects. We thus test whether honeybees (Apis mellifera) and/or wasps (Vespula vulgaris) can use holistic-like processing with experience to recognize images of human faces, or Navon-like parameterized-stimuli. These insect species are excellent visual learners and have previously shown ability to discriminate human face stimuli using configural type processing. Freely flying bees and wasps were consequently confronted with classical tests for holistic processing, the part-whole effect and the composite-face effect. Both species could learn similar faces from a standard face recognition test used for humans, and their performance in transfer tests was consistent with holistic processing as defined for studies on humans. Tests with parameterized stimuli also revealed a capacity of honeybees, but not wasps, to process complex visual information in a holistic way, suggesting that such sophisticated visual processing may be far more spread within the animal kingdom than previously thought, although may depend on ecological constraints.
Subject Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) apis mellifera
configural processing
face recognition
hierarchical stimuli
holistic processing
vespula vulgaris
visual cognition
DOI - identifier 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01313
Copyright notice © 2018 Avarguès-Weber, dAmaro, Metzler, Finke, Baracchi and Dyer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
ISSN 1664-1078
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