Primitive signs of emotions spotted in sugar-buzzed bumblebees | Science News

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Primitive signs of emotions spotted in sugar-buzzed bumblebees

After a treat, insects appeared to have rosier outlooks

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2:00pm, September 29, 2016
bumblebee

BUZZED  Bumblebees seem to get a mood boost from sweets, a new study shows. 

To human observers, bumblebees sipping nectar from flowers appear cheerful. It turns out that the insects may actually enjoy their work. A new study suggests that bees experience a “happy” buzz after receiving a sugary snack, although it’s probably not the same joy that humans experience chomping on a candy bar.

Scientists can’t ask bees or other animals how they feel. Instead, researchers must look for signs of positive or negative emotions in an animal’s decision making or behavior, says Clint Perry, a neuroethologist at Queen Mary University of London. In one such study, for example, scientists shook bees vigorously in a machine for 60 seconds — hard enough to annoy, but not hard enough to cause injury — and found that stressed bees made more pessimistic decisions while foraging for food.

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