The goldfish--a colour-constant animal

Perception. 1996;25(2):243-50. doi: 10.1068/p250243.


A series of either thirteen or fifteen coloured test fields with hues from blue through grey to yellow were presented on a black background. Goldfish were trained on a bluish-grey test field by food reward. In the training situation, the setup with the coloured papers was illuminated with white light. In the test situation, the colour of the illumination was changed to blue or yellow. In both test illuminations the goldfish preferred the training field in the same way as under white illumination despite the fact that this test field stimulated the cone types very differently from the training situation. As test fields were present that excited the cones in exactly the same way as under white light, but were not chosen, colour constancy can be concluded. By means of colour metrics, it was possible to quantify direction and strength of colour constancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior / physiology
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Goldfish / physiology*
  • Lighting
  • Psychophysics
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*