Homo sapiens is the most logical and analytical specie in the animal kingdom. They primarily use transitive inference for logical reasoning. In the recent past, other species like birds, monkeys, and fish have also shown the ability to use transitive inference. However, honeybees did not pass the test due to their small nervous system that limits cognitive activities restricting conducting transitive inference.
But biologist Elizabeth Tibbetts from the University of Michigan wonders what hinders wasps from using transitive inference as they are known for their social skills. Therefore, Elizabeth along with her colleagues tested two common paper wasps species Polistes metrics and Polistes dominula.
In this study, the team observed that the small nervous system of insects does not limit their social behavior. They haven’t vouched that the insects are using logical deduction to solve this problem. But these insects used known relationships to make interpretations about the unknown relationship. They further added that brain size do not confines understanding learned in the social environment.
Training Paper Wasps Showed their Ability to Respond with Transitive Inference
The team collected paper wasps from different regions and trained wasps individually to differentiate between pairs of colors called premise pairs. Researchers gave a mild electric shock to one color in each pair. It was astonishing to know that wasp learned quickly and accurately the premise pairs. Later, scientists presented paired colors to unfamiliar wasps and they had to choose between the colors. The wasps were capable of to organize information into an implicit hierarchy. They also used transitive inference to choose between novel pair.
Because of their different social behaviors, wasps and honeybees were capable of showing cognitive abilities. By experiencing different behaviors in different social environment resulted in constructing the ability of transitive inference.