Honey Bees

  • Patrick H. Wells


The opening sentence of Doull’s interesting analysis of honey bee behavior is illustrative of a pervasive bias among biologists with respect to the relative importance of instinct and learning as regulators of insect behavior. This bias probably is the unavoidable and nondeliberate product of the paradigms (viewpoints from which nature is observed and interpreted) guiding practitioners within the major Western schools of animal behavior. As Kuhn (1962) points out, a paradigm defines “which problems [it is] more significant to have solved.” The paradigm which unites a group of investigators also determines which experimental results and interpretations will be regarded as significant and important. They are those which strengthen the paradigm “by extending the knowledge of those facts that the paradigm displays as particularly revealing, by increasing the extent of the match between those facts and the paradigm’s predictions, and by further articulation of the paradigm itself.” Data and interpretations which do none of these tend to be rejected or ignored as being noncentral (peripheral) or irrelevant, and contribute little to the evolution of central theory and ruling dogmas.


Conditional Stimulus Conditioned Response Discrimination Conditioning Observation Hive Homing Ability 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick H. Wells
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyOccidental CollegeLos AngelesUSA

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