Recent studies on animal mathematical abilities suggest that all vertebrates show comparable abilities when they are given spontaneous preference tests, such as selecting the larger number of food items, but that mammals and birds generally achieve much better performance than fish when tested with training procedures. At least part of these differences might be due to the fact that fish are usually trained with only one or two dozen trials while extensive training, sometimes with thousands of trials, is normally performed in studies of mammals and birds. To test this hypothesis, female guppies were trained on four consecutive numerical discriminations of increasing difficulty (from 2 vs. 3 to 5 vs. 6 items), with up to 120 trials with each discrimination. Five out of eight subjects discriminated all contrasts up to 4 versus 5 objects at levels significantly better than chance, a much higher limit than the 2 versus 3 limit previously reported in studies that provided fish with only short training sequences. Our findings indicate that the difference in numerical cognition between teleosts and warm-blooded vertebrates might be smaller than previously supposed.

Extensive training extends numerical abilities of guppies

Tyrone, Lucon-Xiccato
Ultimo
2014

Abstract

Recent studies on animal mathematical abilities suggest that all vertebrates show comparable abilities when they are given spontaneous preference tests, such as selecting the larger number of food items, but that mammals and birds generally achieve much better performance than fish when tested with training procedures. At least part of these differences might be due to the fact that fish are usually trained with only one or two dozen trials while extensive training, sometimes with thousands of trials, is normally performed in studies of mammals and birds. To test this hypothesis, female guppies were trained on four consecutive numerical discriminations of increasing difficulty (from 2 vs. 3 to 5 vs. 6 items), with up to 120 trials with each discrimination. Five out of eight subjects discriminated all contrasts up to 4 versus 5 objects at levels significantly better than chance, a much higher limit than the 2 versus 3 limit previously reported in studies that provided fish with only short training sequences. Our findings indicate that the difference in numerical cognition between teleosts and warm-blooded vertebrates might be smaller than previously supposed.
Angelo, Bisazza; Christian, Agrillo; LUCON XICCATO, Tyrone
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2381591
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