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Visual Search and Attention in Bumblebees (VSIB2009)
Date du début: 10 sept. 2011, Date de fin: 9 sept. 2013 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

"Visual search is a common task in our everyday life. We search for our child in a crowd at school, or a chocolate bar out of several different brands at the supermarket. The ease of the search depends on how distinguishable the target is from the background or how different it is from other surrounding objects. Attention can improve our search if drawn to the vicinity of the target. Visual search, attention, and the neuronal circuitry underlying these processes are currently a very dynamic field in human psychophysics. But to understand the minimum neuronal hardware necessary to solve such tasks, we here turn to an animal that is rapidly becoming a model for analysing how simple nervous systems solve complex cognitive tasks: the bumblebee.Interestingly, the common tests run by psychologists often seem more appropriate to a bee's world than to a human's. Commonly, subjects are asked to search a display for one or several defined targets (e.g. a small yellow square). The targets are commonly mixed with other stimuli (distractors), which differ from those the subject is asked to search for. Targets may differ from distractors in one stimulus dimension only (such as color), or they may differ in several dimensions (such as color and shape). Performance of subjects is evaluated in terms of reaction time and accuracy, and in terms of individual strategy used to optimize the speed-accuracy tradeoff.We will use a novel technique, the virtual bee meadow, to ask a range of questions dealing with visual search and attention in bumblebees. How do searches vary if the targets and distractors differ in more than one dimension? How does attention affect the perception of 'irrelevant’ details? How do bees cope with multiple visual targets? Is attention more influenced by the nature of the stimuli or by mental processes in the bee's brain?"