New paper published on Scientific Reports

Can you tell the difference between the weight of two apples? Probably yes if the difference is, say, 10g. And what about two melons? In this case, you need a difference of about 200g, because melons are way heavier than apples.

Crucially, the weight difference that one can accurately discriminate increases proportionally to the average weight one is considering. This is a classic result of psychophysics, called Weber’s Law, and applies to a wide range of stimuli as they are processed by the human brain. Not only humans obey to psychophysics laws, but all range of animals from insects to fish, birds and mammals.
In our re study published on Scientific Reports (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22616-y), we suggest that also honeybee colonies adhere to the same laws when bringing forth collective decisions. This study supports the view of colonies as being similar to complete organisms — or better, super-organisms, being formed by a large number of fully developed and autonomous individuals that interact with each other to bring forth a collective response. Under this view, parallels between bees in a colony and neurones in the brain can be traced, helping researchers to identify the general mechanisms underlying psychophysics laws, which may ultimately lead to a better understanding of our own brain.

Reina, Andreagiovanni; Bose, Thomas; Trianni, Vito; Marshall, James A R (2018): Psychophysical Laws and the Superorganism. In: Scientific Reports, 8 (1), pp. 4387–8, 2018.