Same/Different Abstract Concept Learning by Archerfish (Toxotes chatareus)

Newport, Cait, Wallis, Guy and Siebeck, Ulrike E. (2015) Same/Different Abstract Concept Learning by Archerfish (Toxotes chatareus). PLoS One, 10 11: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143401

Author Newport, Cait
Wallis, Guy
Siebeck, Ulrike E.
Title Same/Different Abstract Concept Learning by Archerfish (Toxotes chatareus)
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-11-23
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0143401
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 11
Total pages 14
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
While several phylogenetically diverse species have proved capable of learning abstract concepts, previous attempts to teach fish have been unsuccessful. In this report, the ability of archerfish (Toxotes chatareus) to learn the concepts of sameness and difference using a simultaneous two-item discrimination task was tested. Six archerfish were trained to either select a pair of same or different stimuli which were presented simultaneously. Training consisted of a 2-phase approach. Training phase 1: the symbols in the same and different pair did not change, thereby allowing the fish to solve the test through direct association. The fish were trained consecutively with four different sets of stimuli to familiarize them with the general procedure before moving on to the next training phase. Training phase 2: six different symbols were used to form the same or different pairs. After acquisition, same/different concept learning was tested by presenting fish with six novel stimuli (transfer test). Five fish successfully completed the first training phase. Only one individual passed the second training phase, however, transfer performance was consistent with chance. This individual was given further training using 60 training exemplars but the individual was unable to reach the training criterion. We hypothesize that archerfish are able to solve a limited version of the same/different test by learning the response to each possible stimulus configuration or by developing a series of relatively simple choice contingencies. We conclude that the simultaneous two-item discrimination task we describe cannot be successfully used to test the concepts of same and different in archerfish. In addition, despite considerable effort training archerfish using several tests and training methods, there is still no evidence that fish can learn an abstract concept-based test.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Created: Wed, 09 Dec 2015, 09:58:20 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences