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Author Agrillo, C.; Dadda, M.; Bisazza, A.
Title Quantity discrimination in female mosquitofish Type Journal Article
Year 2007 Publication Animal cognition Abbreviated Journal Anim. Cogn.
Volume 10 Issue 1 Pages 63-70
Keywords Animals; Cognition; *Cyprinodontiformes; *Discrimination Learning; Female; Male; Mathematics; *Pattern Recognition, Visual
Abstract The ability in animals to count and represent different numbers of objects has received a great deal of attention in the past few decades. Cumulative evidence from comparative studies on number discriminations report obvious analogies among human babies, non-human primates and birds and are consistent with the hypothesis of two distinct and widespread mechanisms, one for counting small numbers (<4) precisely, and one for quantifying large numbers approximately. We investigated the ability to discriminate among different numerosities, in a distantly related species, the mosquitofish, by using the spontaneous choice of a gravid female to join large groups of females as protection from a sexually harassing male. In one experiment, we found that females were able to discriminate between two shoals with a 1:2 numerosity ratio (2 vs. 4, 4 vs. 8 and 8 vs. 16 fish) but failed to discriminate a 2:3 ratio (8 vs. 12 fish). In the second experiment, we studied the ability to discriminate between shoals that differed by one element; females were able to select the larger shoal when the paired numbers were 2 vs. 3 or 3 vs. 4 but not 4 vs. 5 or 5 vs. 6. Our study indicates that numerical abilities in fish are comparable with those of other non-verbal creatures studied; results are in agreement with the hypothesis of the existence of two distinct systems for quantity discrimination in vertebrates.
Address Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, via Venezia 8, 35131, Padova, Italy. christian.agrillo@unipd.it
Corporate Author Thesis
Publisher Place of Publication Editor
Language English Summary Language Original Title
Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title
Series Volume Series Issue Edition
ISSN 1435-9448 ISBN Medium
Area Expedition Conference (up)
Notes PMID:16868736 Approved no
Call Number refbase @ user @ Serial 339
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