Perception of frequency, amplitude, and azimuth of a vibratory dipole source by the octavolateralis system of goldfish (Carassius auratus)

J Comp Psychol. 2011 Aug;125(3):286-95. doi: 10.1037/a0023499.


Goldfish (Carassius auratus) were conditioned to suppress respiration to a 40-Hz vibratory source and subsequently tested for stimulus generalization to frequency, stimulus amplitude, and position (azimuth). Animals completely failed to generalize to frequencies separated by octave intervals both lesser and greater than the CS. However, they did appear to generalize weakly to an aerial loudspeaker stimulus of the same frequency (40 Hz) after conditioning with an underwater vibratory source. Animals had a gradually decreasing amount of generalization to amplitude changes, suggesting a perceptual dimension of loudness. Animals generalized largely or completely to the same underwater source presented at a range of source azimuths. When these azimuths were presented at a transect of 3 cm, some animals did show decrements in generalization, while others did not. This suggests that although azimuth may be perceived more saliently at distances closer to a dipole source, perception of position is not immediately salient in conditioned vibratory source detection. Differential responding to test stimuli located toward the head or tail suggests the presence of perceptual differences between sources that are rostral or caudal with respect to the position of the animal or perhaps the head.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Ear, Inner / physiology
  • Generalization, Psychological / physiology*
  • Goldfish / physiology*
  • Lateral Line System / physiology*
  • Loudness Perception / physiology
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Pitch Perception / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Vibration*