Academy of Finland
Funding decision
Name Loukola, Olli
Organisation OY
Project title
Cognition and social learning in bumblebees
Decision No. 309995
Decision date 16.05.2017
Funding period 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2020
Funding 233 970
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
Recent studies suggest that the bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) are able to learn tool-use and other seemingly complex, non-natural tasks socially. Novel behaviours can even spread culturally through bee populations via social learning. Learned tool-use by bees requires some level of cognitive flexibility that goes above and beyond simple operant conditioning and Skinnerian learning. Follow-up studies must now go deeper into this phenomenon, to understand what level of insight or reasoning drives this ability, and begin to address its implications. Therefore, this research project aims to focus on two complementary aspects: cognitive abilities of (causal reasoning in tool-use and cooperation tasks), and selective social learning in bumblebees.