Navigation Links
Bees recognize human faces using feature configuration
Date:1/28/2010

Going about their day-to-day business, bees have no need to be able to recognise human faces. Yet in 2005, when Adrian Dyer from Monash University trained the fascinating insects to associate pictures of human faces with tasty sugar snacks, they seemed to be able to do just that. But Martin Giurfa from the Universit de Toulouse, France, suspected that that the bees weren't learning to recognise people. 'Because the insects were rewarded with a drop of sugar when they chose human photographs, what they really saw were strange flowers. The important question was what strategy do they use to discriminate between faces,' explains Giurfa. Wondering whether the insects might be learning the relative arrangement (configuration) of features on a face, Giurfa contacted Dyer and suggested that they go about systematically testing which features a bee learned to recognise to keep them returning to Dyer's face photos. The team publish their discovery that bees can learn to recognise the arrangement of human facial features on 29 January 2010 in the Journal of Experimental Biology at http://jeb.biologists.org.

Teaming up with Aurore Avargues-Weber, the team first tested whether the bees could learn to distinguish between simple face-like images. Using faces that were made up of two dots for eyes, a short vertical dash for a nose and a longer horizontal line for a mouth, Avargues-Weber trained individual bees to distinguish between a face where the features were cramped together and another where the features were set apart. Having trained the bee to visit one of the two faces by rewarding it with a weak sugar solution, she tested whether it recognised the pattern by taking away the sugar reward and waiting to see if the bee returned to the correct face. It did.

So the bees could learn to distinguish patterns that were organised like faces, but could they learn to 'categorize' faces? Could the insects be trained to classify patterns as face-like versus non-face like, and could they decide that an image that they had not seen before belonged to one class or the other? To answer these questions, Avargues-Weber trained the bees by showing them five pairs of different images, where one image was always a face and the other a pattern of dots and dashes. Bees were always rewarded with sugar when they visited the face while nothing was offered by the non-face pattern. Having trained the bees that 'face-like' images gave them a reward, she showed the bees a completely fresh pair of images that they had not seen before to see if the bees could pick out the face-like picture. Remarkably they did. The bees were able to learn the face images, not because they know what a face is but because they had learned the relative arrangement and order of the features.

But how robust was the bees' ability to process the "face's" visual information? How would the bees cope with more complex faces? This time the team embedded the stick and dot faces in face-shaped photographs. Would the bees be able to learn the arrangements of the features against the backgrounds yet recognise the same stick and dot face when the face photo was removed? Amazingly the insects did, and when the team tried scrambling real faces by moving the relative positions of the eyes, nose and mouth, the bees no longer recognised the images as faces and treated them like unknown patterns.

So bees do seem to be able to recognise face-like patterns, but this does not mean that they can learn to recognise individual humans. They learn the relative arrangements of features that happen to make up a face-like pattern and they may use this strategy to learn about and recognize different objects in their environment.

What is really amazing is that an insect with a microdot-sized brain can handle this type of image analysis when we have entire regions of brain dedicated to the problem. Giurfa explains that if we want to design automatic facial recognition systems, we could learn a lot by using the bees' approach to face recognition.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathryn Knight
kathryn@biologists.com
44-787-634-4333
The Company of Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Biologists, educators recognize excellence in evolution education
2. 2009 Lasker Awards recognize promise of stem cells -- global market could top $700 million
3. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes MIRTEC With the 2009 Award for Automated Optical Inspection Product Innovation of the Year
4. The SIB recognizes the next generation of bioinformaticians
5. AIBS recognizes diversity in the biological sciences
6. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes 2009: Six young researchers recognized for outstanding achievements
7. Biomedical engineering student recognized as IEEEs New Face of Engineering
8. Federal scientists recognized for contributions to knowledge of bird ecology and habitat
9. Rice University psychologist finds womens brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
10. 13 UCR faculty members recognized by American Association for the Advancement of Science
11. Household exposure to toxic chemicals lurks unrecognized, researchers find
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/20/2016)... -- Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil ... investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that after exhaustive ... the final acceptance by all three (3) Department ... (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have contracts for ... October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate wireless device ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control ... right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the z-dimension of 8.5 ... end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. Z-dimension or ... the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow cell product lines ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced ... granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food ... gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin ... to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: