BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild News - SOURCE Science LINK

New re­search sug­gests that bum­ble­bees may ex­pe­ri­ence emo­tion-like states sim­i­lar to hu­man feel­ings.

“If I have a bit of dark choco­late, ev­ery­thing’s great for a while,” said Clint Perry of Queen Mary Univer­sity of London. And a sug­ary treat has a sim­i­lar ef­fect on bum­ble­bees.

Perry trained bees to for­age from mock flow­ers. Blue ones con­tained a weak sugar so­lu­tion, green ones only wa­ter. Half of the bees were then given a taste of highly con­cen­trated sugar so­lu­tion be­fore all were tested for their re­ac­tions to an am­bigu­ous blue-green flower.

Those bees that had re­ceived the treat flew faster to­wards the blue-green flower. “You could say they’d be­come more op­ti­mistic,” said Perry.

In­trigu­ingly, block­ing the ac­tion of dopamine, a brain chem­i­cal that is cen­tral to emo­tional func­tion­ing in hu­mans, damp­ened the ef­fect.

“If bum­ble­bees have this fun­da­men­tal el­e­ment of emo­tional states, sim­i­lar to those of hu­mans, it could be that they also have sub­jec­tive feel­ings,” said Perry.

Bum­ble­bees like sugar – but does it trig­ger an ‘emo­tional’ state?

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