Ants appear to feel more optimistic after a sugary treat

A sweet reward influences ants’ decision-making when they encounter ambiguous situations, hinting that they might have internal states like our emotions


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11 November 2022

An ant drinking from a drop of clear liquid

Ants were given drops of sugar solution or bitter quinine solution in laboratory tests

Julia Giehr

Ants appear to be optimistic when making decisions based on ambiguous information, and their positive bent is even stronger if they’ve just had a sweet reward.

This could be a sign that these animals experience something like our emotions, says Tomer Czaczkes at the University of Regensburg in Germany. “There is no good reason to rule out emotions in invertebrates out of hand, and indeed good reasons to think carefully about this,” he says.

An earlier …