A series of experiments with honey bees demonstrate that their small brains nevertheless possess the ability for topological perception. Bees rapidly learned to discriminate patterns that are topologically different, and they generalized the learned cue to other novel patterns. By contrast, discrimination of topologically equivalent patterns was learned much more slowly and not as well. Thus, although the global nature of topological properties makes their computation difficult, topology may be a fundamental component of the vocabulary by which visual systems represent and characterize objects.
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