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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02341

A detour task in several species of fishes

  • 1Centro interdipartimentale Mente/Cervello - CIMeC, Università di Trento, Italy

Four species of fish (Danio rerio, Xenotoca eiseni, Carassius auratus and Pterophyllum scalare) were tested in a detour task requiring them to temporarily abandon the view of the goal-object (a group of conspecifics) to circumvent an obstacle. Fishes were placed in the middle of a corridor, at the end of which there was an opaque wall with a small window through which the goal was visible. Midline along the corridor two symmetrical apertures allowed animals to access two compartments for each aperture. After passing the aperture, fishes showed searching behavior in the two correct compartments close to the goal, appearing able to localize it, although they had to temporarily move away from the object's view. Here we provide the first evidence that fishes can solve such a detour task and therefore seem able to represent the “permanence in existence” of objects, which continue to exist even if they are not momentarily visible.

Keywords: fish, Detour task, goal-object, Object permanence, comparative psychology

Received: 31 Jul 2018; Accepted: 08 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Thomas Bugnyar, Universität Wien, Austria

Reviewed by:

Thomas A. Daniel, Westfield State University, United States
CAN KABADAYI, Lund University, Sweden  

Copyright: © 2018 Sovrano, Baratti and Potrich. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Valeria A. Sovrano, Centro interdipartimentale Mente/Cervello - CIMeC, Università di Trento, Rovereto, Italy, vsovrano@gmail.com