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Author Topic: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?  (Read 32245 times)

Lana_i_b

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Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« on: 08/08/2005 05:01:45 »
It's "common knowledge" that a fish has a 3 second memory, but... I'm currently doing a uni assignment on fish memories, and all of the information I have found suggests that they have very good memories and are capable of learning, and remembering things even 11 months later! A scientist called Ava Chase even taught her carp to distinguish between classical music and the blues!! :0
http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/s1179348.htm Thats a link to an article which mentions Ava Chase and Culum Browns research, and also talks about goldfish recognising their owners. I'm convinced. The problem that I have is for my assignment I have to give evidence for both sides of the argument and, unbelievable as it may seem, I cannot find a single scientist or piece of scientific writing that mentions fish having a short memory. The 3-second thing is a myth... but where did it come from?!?! All I can find is loads of evidence pointing in the other direction.
?Does anyone know of any books or internet sites or articles that argue that fish have a short memory? ?

chris

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #1 on: 08/08/2005 10:56:26 »
Goldfish do indeed have very good memories, without them they would never be capable of the complex behaviours that they exhibit. Calum Brown's research is an elegant proof of this.

I suspect that the myth arose from some 'authority' sitting in a pub, or a comedian, which are the usual sources.

Science is all about proving and disproving hypotheses. Your essay is perfectly valid if you begin with the hypothesis that "goldfish have 3 second memories", and then probe the evidence.

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Ultima

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #2 on: 08/08/2005 13:00:48 »
All my tropical fish knew what time of day they got fed... would have to have a fairly long-term memory to do that. You could also trick them into thinking it's time for food, because they responded to the rubbing sound I made with my finger on the top of the tank when I fed them :). So if you wanted to show all the fish to someone you just rubbed the top of the tank and they would all fly to the top :D. Perhaps I should have published a paper about learned responses to stimulus in Amazonian tropical fish... [:p]

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« Last Edit: 08/08/2005 13:04:28 by Ultima »

Tronix

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #3 on: 08/08/2005 13:48:55 »
a three secound memeory would not serve a fish very well, since three secound after first recognizing what a predator is and looks like they would forget, and they would likely be extinct by predation. furthermore, memory is the foundation for much common sense and wisdom, which is required for being able to lay ones eggs in such a way as to not have them eaten or otherwise destroyed (the memory of the predator and maternal protection compulsions combine to form a thought like "i should protect my eggs from the predator by hiding them, since that is what i do (which is another function of long term memory)".

They may have a short term memory of three secounds, or maybe an attention span of three secounds, but overall memory would have to last more than 3 secounds, at least i think. there maybe a awy to surive on a 3 secound memory, but it would have to have extrodinary luck, inpenatrable defenses, or live for a single day or a week at most (like the mayfly), logically speaking.

but logic and science are one of those couples that ends up disagreeing alot, so one shoudl do his or her research first. I have heard of this "fact" before, but i think it was by word of mouth, like alot of myths.

hope you paper goes well!

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simeonie

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #4 on: 08/08/2005 20:12:49 »
The thing about the predaters maybe by evolution (in my opinion God) made it so that it is instinct to avoid bigger creatures. Could Instinct do that maybe? I don't know. There is a differece though between instinct and memory

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Tronix

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #5 on: 09/08/2005 14:31:18 »
well there is definetly a surivival instinct, which means the animal will run as soon as it recognizes a threat, and it maybe that some general features of predators (long claws and teeth, slanted eyes, movements, etc) could be programmed in, but more intellegence based things like (dont go out into the deep water, dont go to this reef, dont hide in a hoel becuase where eels live, what a barracuda looks like as compared to a remora) i think requires memory. And after all, a fish must remember where its best to eat and how to get to a safe spot.  

I have observed animals before, and instinct seems to be a reaction to general happenigns, like unfamiliar creatures walkign towards your baby. Memory is when you dont run immediatley to attack said creature when you recognize it as the same creature that feeds you, but are still on edge (which is instinct). i have had fish before, and i know it knew where to hide and what food looked like.

Personally, although instinct is there and i know it, i think its overused and animals are more intelligent then we make them out to be. We have not coem up with a good way to judge intellegence yet, so i think we are missing alot. I dont knwo if specific images of predators are programed in at birth. It may be if you show the picture of a predator after the birth of, even a tv show showing a shark tear up[ a wad of meat, you may not have the fish be afriad of it. onyl experimentaion will tell.

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"If i cannot have company whose minds are clearly free, I would prefer to go alone."                  -Dr. Gideon Lincecum

The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...

gsmollin

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #6 on: 09/08/2005 16:03:01 »
I think the 3 second memory bit is all mixed up with the 3 second association of memory. I also think people thought goldfish had no memory because they would keep eating until they got sick and died. Well, humans do the same thing.

Evie

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #7 on: 15/08/2005 18:04:30 »
I agree that the 3 second memory is either a myth or it is based on short-term memory. Repeated events can be converted to long-term memory even with a short attention span or short-term memory.

Also, the insticts that animals have, like to run away from a predator, are based somewhat on memory. Animals can even lose their sense of danger over time. For example, in the 16th and 17th centuries (and even on to today) when humans discovered small islands with no human inhabitants, the animals on that island often exhibited no fear of humans and would approach them quite easily. Unfortunately for many of them, this led to humans thinking they were dumb and easy to hunt. Case in point, the Dodo. Travellers found it so easy to hunt and kill them that they did so until the Dodo was extinct, at about the year 1670.

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Razor

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #8 on: 15/08/2005 18:23:39 »
The most ignorant animal on the planet had to be the smartest as well, not a good mix!:(!

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Re: Do fish really have a 3 second memory ?
« Reply #9 on: 20/08/2005 21:40:59 »
quote:
Originally posted by simeonie
The thing about the predaters maybe by evolution (in my opinion God) made it so that it is instinct to avoid bigger creatures. Could Instinct do that maybe? I don't know. There is a differece though between instinct and memory


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