University of Oulu

Gatto, E., Loukola, O. J., Petrazzini, M. E. M., Agrillo, C., & Cutini, S. (2022). Illusional Perspective across Humans and Bees. Vision, 6(2), 28. MDPI AG. Retrieved from

Illusional perspective across humans and bees

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Author: Gatto, Elia1,2; Loukola, Olli J.3; Petrazzini, Maria Elena Miletto4;
Organizations: 1Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
2Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
3Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
4Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
5Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
6Padua Neuroscience Center, University of Padova, 35129 Padova, Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-01-04


For two centuries, visual illusions have attracted the attention of neurobiologists and comparative psychologists, given the possibility of investigating the complexity of perceptual mechanisms by using relatively simple patterns. Animal models, such as primates, birds, and fish, have played a crucial role in understanding the physiological circuits involved in the susceptibility of visual illusions. However, the comprehension of such mechanisms is still a matter of debate. Despite their different neural architectures, recent studies have shown that some arthropods, primarily Hymenoptera and Diptera, experience illusions similar to those humans do, suggesting that perceptual mechanisms are evolutionarily conserved among species. Here, we review the current state of illusory perception in bees. First, we introduce bees’ visual system and speculate which areas might make them susceptible to illusory scenes. Second, we review the current state of knowledge on misperception in bees (Apidae), focusing on the visual stimuli used in the literature. Finally, we discuss important aspects to be considered before claiming that a species shows higher cognitive ability while equally supporting alternative hypotheses. This growing evidence provides insights into the evolutionary origin of visual mechanisms across species.

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Series: Vision
ISSN: 2411-5150
ISSN-E: 2411-5150
ISSN-L: 2411-5150
Volume: 6
Issue: 2
Article number: 28
DOI: 10.3390/vision6020028
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This research was funded by the Kone Foundation (grant number 202010852) to O.J.L. and PRIN 2015 (grant number 2015FFATB7) from the “Ministero dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca” (MIUR, Italy) to C.A.
Copyright information: © 2022 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (