Insect Bio-inspired Neural Network Provides New Evidence on How Simple Feature Detectors Can Enable Complex Visual Generalization and Stimulus Location Invariance in the Miniature Brain of Honeybees.
e1005333 - ?
PLoS Comput Biol
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The ability to generalize over naturally occurring variation in cues indicating food or predation risk is highly useful for efficient decision-making in many animals. Honeybees have remarkable visual cognitive abilities, allowing them to classify visual patterns by common features despite having a relatively miniature brain. Here we ask the question whether generalization requires complex visual recognition or whether it can also be achieved with relatively simple neuronal mechanisms. We produced several simple models inspired by the known anatomical structures and neuronal responses within the bee brain and subsequently compared their ability to generalize achromatic patterns to the observed behavioural performance of honeybees on these cues. Neural networks with just eight large-field orientation-sensitive input neurons from the optic ganglia and a single layer of simple neuronal connectivity within the mushroom bodies (learning centres) show performances remarkably similar to a large proportion of the empirical results without requiring any form of learning, or fine-tuning of neuronal parameters to replicate these results. Indeed, a model simply combining sensory input from both eyes onto single mushroom body neurons returned correct discriminations even with partial occlusion of the patterns and an impressive invariance to the location of the test patterns on the eyes. This model also replicated surprising failures of bees to discriminate certain seemingly highly different patterns, providing novel and useful insights into the inner workings facilitating and limiting the utilisation of visual cues in honeybees. Our results reveal that reliable generalization of visual information can be achieved through simple neuronal circuitry that is biologically plausible and can easily be accommodated in a tiny insect brain.
AuthorsRoper, M; Fernando, C; Chittka, L
- College Publications