Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Psychology Dept. Lecture | Ken Cheng | Ant Navigation

Episode Summary

Lecture | Ken Cheng

Episode Notes

Robert Hampton introduces Ken Cheng:
Ants as a group feature especially small brains even for their small size, and yet many species are expert navigators forging learned routes about their habitat. Working to bring food to their next, they make excellent research animals for navigational research because they do not satiate when given food repeatedly. I review briefly ants' navigational tool kit, with part integration, view-based navigation (and to some extent cues of other modalities), and systematic search being chief components. Then I describe some evidence on two major themes. First, ants integrate cues from multiple navigational systems that are processed in parallel. In some cases, they even integrate in an optimal (Bayesian) fashion. Second, how ants learn to use views for navigation and how they modify view-based navigation on the basis of experience (learning) has recently been investigated. I highlight some recent work on this experimental ethology of learning to navigate.