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, 18 (7), 569-73

Growing in Circles: Rearing Environment Alters Spatial Navigation in Fish

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Growing in Circles: Rearing Environment Alters Spatial Navigation in Fish

Alisha A Brown et al. Psychol Sci.

Abstract

Animals of many species use the geometric shape of an enclosed rectangular environment to reorient, even in the presence of a more informative featural cue. Manipulating the rearing environment affects performance on spatial tasks, but its effect on the use of geometric versus featural navigational cues is unknown. Our study varied the geometric information available in the rearing environment (circular vs. rectangular rearing tanks) of convict cichlids (Archocentrus nigrofasciatus) and tested their use of navigational cues. All the fish used geometric information to navigate when no features were present. When features were present, the fish used geometric and featural information separately. If cues were in conflict, fish raised in a circular tank showed significantly less use of geometric information than fish raised in a rectangular tank. Thus, the ability to use geometry to navigate does not require exposure to angular geometric cues during rearing, though rearing environment affects the dominance of featural and geometric cues.

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