The role of stimulus preexposure in problem solving by Octopus vulgaris
Octopus vulgaris is able to open transparent glass jars closed with plastic plugs and containing live crabs. The decrease in performance times for removing the plug and seizing the prey with increasing experience of the task has been taken to indicate learning. However, octopuses’ attack behaviors are typically slow and variable in novel environmental situations. In this study the role of preexposure to selected features of the problem-solving context was investigated. Although octopuses failed to benefit from greater familiarity with the training context or with selected elements of the task of solving the jar problem, the methodological strategies used are instructive in potentially clarifying the role of complex problem-solving behaviors in this species including stimulus preexposure and social learning.
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An Octopus vulgaris opening a jar (MPEG-Movie 11.60 MB)
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