Music discriminations by carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Abstract

Studies using three koi (Cyprinus carpio) investigated discrimination of musical stimuli. The common protocol used a single manipulandum and a multiple continuous reinforcement-extinction schedule signaled by music of the S+ and S− types in 30-sec presentations separated by a silent 15-sec intertrial interval. In a categorization study, the fish learned to discriminate blues recordings from classical, generalizing from John Lee Hooker (guitar and vocals) and Bach (oboe concertos) to multiple artists and ensembles. A control-by-reversal test developed into a demonstration of progressive improvement in iterated reversal learning. The subjects next learned to discriminate single-timbre synthesized versions of similar music. In the final study, which used melodies with the same order of note-duration values, but with mirror-image orders of pitch values, one fish discriminated melodies with no timbre cues, in contrast to results reported in rats.

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Correspondence to Ava R. Chase.

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This work was supported by the Rowland Institute for Science. I gratefully acknowledge the help of Winfield Hill for instrumentation, programming, and encouragement. I thank Dan Coutu for the MIDI music and Matt Maltzman for ongoing discussions and help with the manuscript. Thank you, Angel Peterchev, for suggesting Paganini’s theme for the melody experiment. Thanks are due Chris Stokes and the Rowland Staff. Special thanks to Allen Neuringer for his inspiration and invaluable comments.

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Chase, A.R. Music discriminations by carp (Cyprinus carpio). Animal Learning & Behavior 29, 336–353 (2001). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03192900

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Keywords

  • Reversal Learning
  • Compact Disc
  • Musical Genre
  • Probe Session
  • Rote Memory