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Abstract

Experiments investigated a Pavlovian conditioning situation where the presence and absence of the stimulus are reversed temporally with respect to the presentation of a reward. Instead of a conditioned stimulus (e.g. odor) signaling the presence of a reward, the stimulus (e.g. odor) is present in the environment except just prior to the presence of the reward. Thus, the absence of the stimulus, or offset of the stimulus (e.g. absence of odor), serves as a conditioned stimulus and is the reward cue. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) were used as a model invertebrate system, and the proboscis-conditioning paradigm was used as the test procedure. Using both simple Pavlovian conditioning and discrimination-learning protocols, animals learned to associate the onset of an odor as conditioned stimuli when paired with a sucrose reward. They could also learn to associate the onset of a puff of air with a sucrose reward. However, bees could not associate the offset of an order stimulus with the presentation of a sucrose reward in either a simple conditioning or a discrimination-learning situation. These results support the model that a very different cognitive architecture is used by invertebrates to deal with certain environmental situations, including signaled avoidance.