What can we learn from bees?
When experts from Queen Mary University of London presented a group of bees with a closed puzzle box, little did they know they were unlocking insights into social puzzling habits.
Yet this is just what happened when a set of bees who had been trained to access a sugar reward inside the puzzle box started to pass on their knowledge to their more inexperienced peers.
Some of our first experiences of puzzling are helping a grandparent with a crossword, or learning how to do wordsearches and sudokus from family and friends. This study shows how the social aspect of learning puzzles also rings true for bees.
Those who observed the ‘demonstrator’ bees rotating the lid of the puzzle box by pushing red or blue tabs chose the same method 98% of the time.
When it comes to puzzling, we can learn two crucial things from our hive-dwelling friends. Bees with a ‘demonstrator’ opened more puzzle boxes than the control groups. By sharing experience and collaborating with others, we can also access and succeed at more puzzle types.
Secondly, just as bees swiftly solved the puzzle with the end-goal of accessing sugar solution, we too can reap the benefits of keeping our brain in gear. Whether it’s improved mental fitness, relaxation, or a solid sense of achievement – nothing beats the reward at the end of the puzzle!