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Author Topic: Memory span of Goldfish.  (Read 31367 times)

Offline Fossil

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Memory span of Goldfish.
« on: 17/05/2004 02:11:47 »
I have read that the memory span of a gold fish is three seconds. How do the test for that?


 

Offline Fossil

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #1 on: 17/05/2004 02:28:04 »
I mean how do THEY test for that.  duh.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #2 on: 17/05/2004 11:09:32 »
Sorry...what was your question again ?.....:D

Yes, I've also heard the same thing though.

It would also be intresting to find out not just how they have been tested for that but WHY do they only have a three second memory span[?]
 In fact does memory retention differ far and wide across the animal kingdom ?

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Offline Fossil

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #3 on: 17/05/2004 12:46:37 »
I guess my question is how do they test a gold fish for their memory. Memory is different than imprinting. How can it be quantified in a fish? They must have to know something first and then tested to see how long they remember it? When I read it I though what a great piece of trivia, but pondered further I just wondered how do they know?
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #4 on: 17/05/2004 22:05:54 »
I don't know how they would test for that, but I've had numerous golfish and they all remembered what the can of fish food meant, and I only fed them once a day.
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #5 on: 17/05/2004 23:47:01 »
Maybe they are looking at the amount of neurons in a fish brain, and making a wild guess.

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Offline bezoar

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #6 on: 18/05/2004 03:07:54 »
I'm not sure that's true.  I have fish now, although admittedly not goldfish, but they know to come to the top of the tank and eat when I tap the glass.
 

Offline MayoFlyFarmer

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #7 on: 18/05/2004 07:23:39 »
you can make reasonable estimates at learning/emeory/etc in animals they aren't 100% precise.  I'm not sure how they would test memory in goldfish exactly, but think of the age old stereo typical mouse in a maze test.

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Offline chris

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #8 on: 18/05/2004 08:44:00 »
I asked fish-behaviour expert Jens Krause, from Leeds University, this very question... about fish rapidly forgetting things... during an interview 2 years ago.

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/html/shows/2002.06.09.htm

chris

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Offline Broca

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #9 on: 20/05/2004 02:40:11 »
Do they remember what the food means when they see the can or when the food hits the top of the water. When it is in the water then I think it becomes instinct as opposed to memory.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #10 on: 20/05/2004 12:53:18 »
quote:
Originally posted by Broca

Do they remember what the food means when they see the can or when the food hits the top of the water. When it is in the water then I think it becomes instinct as opposed to memory.



I just popped into my local aquarium and asked some gold fish....no answer I'm afraid...perhaps by the time I finished asking them they had forgotten the question :D.... but seriously,  I would have thought to eat is just another rudimentary basic insinct that all living creatures have to have to enable survival, so when they see the food, some instinct tells them, plus, perhaps they can smell it too ?....It would be fascinating to know if they do recognise the can of food though.....almost makes you wonder if they can be trained....for what though...I wouldn't know...but then my intelligence span is about three seconds long as well:D

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« Last Edit: 20/05/2004 12:54:36 by neilep »
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #11 on: 20/05/2004 18:58:22 »
quote:
Originally posted by Broca

Do they remember what the food means when they see the can or when the food hits the top of the water. When it is in the water then I think it becomes instinct as opposed to memory.

It was the can that they recognized.  My son's cat recognized the pop of the fish food can opening and would do a flying leap onto the table and dig his paw into the can and help himself.  Catfish I guess.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #12 on: 21/05/2004 22:23:23 »
My cat had the same reaction....could hear the sound of the can opener opening his can a mile away (sorry 1.6km)!!...well..I never really measured it but you get the idea.....

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Offline zgeistusa

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #13 on: 27/05/2004 18:06:31 »
This is anecdotal, I know...but I do believe golds can develop some medium-term memory based on my experience with our pond.

When they "hear" the screen door slam, they immediate swim to the side where they usually are fed and present their open mouths. The reason I say "medium-term" memory is that they seem to loose the connection between the door slam and food over the winter.

When it's time to start feeding again in April, they rarely present themselves. By May, it's getting better. By June, it's automatic.

This cycle has repeated itself for 5 years.

For what it's worth....
 

Offline Broca

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #14 on: 27/05/2004 18:10:07 »
Pavlovian in nature?  Welcome zgeist!
 

Offline Quantumcat

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #15 on: 29/05/2004 08:55:06 »
My goldfish came to the left side of the surface at five o clock every day, because he knew he would be fed. Surely goldfish can't have memories of five seconds.

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Offline tweener

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #16 on: 29/05/2004 16:34:58 »
Isn't there a difference between "memory" and "conditioning"?  It seems that memory would be more like "I've been here before and know how to get to there" while conditioning would be more like "the can is here, my hunger reflex is triggered".  Or something like that.

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Offline OmnipotentOne

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #17 on: 09/06/2004 02:00:43 »
Thats actually really interesting, like we can create an artificial instinct for the fish.
 

Offline bezoar

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #18 on: 13/06/2004 09:11:39 »
These fish see the red bag and come to the top.  I can just put the bag by the tank, or knock on the glass and they know to come to the top.
 

Offline OzzMosiz

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #19 on: 27/06/2004 15:16:22 »
Goldfish have a lot longer memory than 5 seconds. My goldfish will come to the front of the aquarium when they see me near by, they won't do this for anyone else, they'll also do this when I get back from a week away. Also someone said about fish not coming to the side with mouths open in the winter and related this to memory. The cold weather causes goldfish to lower their metabolism and go into an almost hybernation period. Food is scare in the winter, so goldfish become very inactive to conserve energy, so I wouldn't relate that to memory.
 

Offline Exodus

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #20 on: 02/07/2004 06:49:22 »
Fish also seem to remember your behaviour when you go to feed them, as in they see the container and move towards the surface to feed...
 

Offline Nytmare_Muise

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #21 on: 02/07/2004 21:58:47 »
as soon as my 3 goldfish see me sit infront of the fish tank and reach for the food container they all come to the surface and start flipping out, i doubt that has to do with instinct at all unless their brains are so under developed we can turn certain things into a sort of semi-instinct instead of memory, maybe the way that goldfish were bred by the chinese somehow makes there instincts change instead of remembering things?

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #22 on: 04/07/2004 09:26:04 »
If I got home late, after five o clock, the goldfish would still be swimming near the top when I came to look at them, but when I got home normally at 4.30 they would just be swimming around normally.

Can't you do maze tests with goldfish like you do for mice?

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Offline chris

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #23 on: 07/07/2004 07:12:19 »
"You've got the memory of a goldfish" - Sorry, it's no longer the insult it used to be !

Indeed, recent work on fish learning and behaviour has refuted the long standing myth that goldfish are intellectually destitute. Far from being like Dory in "Finding Nemo" (who was condemned to a life of rediscovering the delights of the surroundings every few seconds) fish actually have extremely good memories.

In a recent series of experiments, Edinburgh University fish researcher Culum Brown (Animal Cognition 4 pp109) showed that Australian freshwater rainbowfish could rapidly be trained to locate an escape-hole in a fishing net as it was advanced towards them. The fish were then not tested again until 11 months later - at which point they could still remember how to perform the task as effectively as they had in the past - despite not having seen the apparatus in the meantime.

This is clear evidence that fish have a well developed capacity for learning and recall of information up to a considerable time later.

The 'three second memory' myth should therefore be laid firmly to rest !

Chris

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Offline unclefiber

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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #24 on: 12/07/2004 19:37:28 »
my fish remember a heron or something from 2 days ago - they are sooo spooked out.  
They are normally mad over-eaters!!


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Re: Memory span of Goldfish.
« Reply #24 on: 12/07/2004 19:37:28 »

 

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