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ERIC Number: EJ845724
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Spontaneous Number Representation in Mosquitofish
Dadda, Marco; Piffer, Laura; Agrillo, Christian; Bisazza, Angelo
Cognition, v112 n2 p343-348 Aug 2009
While there is convincing evidence that preverbal human infants and non-human primates can spontaneously represent number, considerable debate surrounds the possibility that such capacity is also present in other animals. Fish show a remarkable ability to discriminate between different numbers of social companions. Previous work has demonstrated that in fish the same set of signature limits that characterize non-verbal numerical systems in primates is present but yet to provide any demonstration that fish can really represent number rather than basing their discrimination on continuous attributes that co-vary with number. In the present work, using the method of "item by item" presentation, we provide the first evidence that fish are capable of selecting the larger group of social companions relying exclusively on numerical information. In our tests subjects could choose between one large and one small group of companions when permitted to see only one fish at a time. Fish were successful when both small (3 vs. 2) and large numbers (8 vs. 4) were involved and their performance was not affected by the density of the fish or by the overall space occupied by the group. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A