Conditioning with compound stimuli in Drosophila melanogaster in the flight simulator

J Exp Biol. 2001 Aug;204(Pt 16):2849-59. doi: 10.1242/jeb.204.16.2849.


Short-term memory in Drosophila melanogaster operant visual learning in the flight simulator is explored using patterns and colours as a compound stimulus. Presented together during training, the two stimuli accrue the same associative strength whether or not a prior training phase rendered one of the two stimuli a stronger predictor for the reinforcer than the other (no blocking). This result adds Drosophila to the list of other invertebrates that do not exhibit the robust vertebrate blocking phenomenon. Other forms of higher-order learning, however, were detected: a solid sensory preconditioning and a small second-order conditioning effect imply that associations between the two stimuli can be formed, even if the compound is not reinforced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Flight, Animal*
  • Learning
  • Vision, Ocular