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Inter-Situational Transfer in the Ant Formica Schaufussi as Tested in a Two-Phase Single Choice-Point Maze

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image of Behaviour

Workers of the ant Formica schaufussi did not transfer a specific choice-point response of right- or left-turning (learned on entrance runs in which an opposed-turns alley sequence led to the choice-point) to an equivalent free-turns situation traversed on returns from the food-box to the nest. Variable behavior, however, was evident in both phases of the maze run after the choice-point alternatives had been reversed experimentally. This behavior is attributed to the general excitatory effects of the situational change. The outcome of this study supports previous results for these ants in complex mazes and in single choice-point U-approach mazes. The conclusion is confirmed that choice-point learning in these ants is bound to the situation in which it is established, evidently through a specificity of response to the sensory aspects and the organic conditions peculiar to action in that situation.

Affiliations: 1: (Princeton University, Princeton N.J. and American Museum of Natural History, New York, U.S.A.


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