Navigation Links
Go fish! RIT psychology professor trains goldfish for object perception research

The fictitious storybook character Dr. Doolittle was known for talking with animals.

Caroline DeLong, an assistant professor of psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology, is a real-life Doolittle whose research focuses on object discrimination in goldfish and echolocation in dolphins to bring scientists closer to unlocking the mysteries of animal perception and cognition.

DeLong's theories suggest that marine animalsfrom intelligent dolphins to pet-store goldfish with tiny brainsmay recognize and represent objects similarly to humans. Specifically, they may be able to recognize an object from any orientationcalled object constancy just like humans can.

DeLong has been studying animals for about 20 years. Research by DeLong and other scientists on echolocation, or biological sonar, can help engineers create advanced software and hardware capable of underwater object recognition. Biomimetic sonar systems, based on the structure and function of animal sonar systems, outperform traditional manmade sonar systems.

"Learning about cognitive processes that dolphins engage in during echolocation can help the Navy or NASA to build a superior biomimetic system," DeLong says.

DeLong has started a new line of research on visual object recognition using goldfish so that students can be directly involved in training animals in her lab. In a controlled environment, DeLong and her students have trained goldfish to recognize a black circle attached to the tank, and to choose that circleeven when other shapes (rectangles) are also present. The fish tap the circle with their mouths to receive a food reward. Eventually, DeLong and her students will investigate whether the fish perform the same as humans, pigeons or monkeys on tests of object constancy.

"Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by how animals communicate and view the world," she says. "If I could magically view the world through a dolphin's eyes for a day, I would. Humans view the world using our own sensory systems, and it's amazing to begin to learn how all these different animals view their world using their own sensory systems."

DeLong will soon conquer another ecosystem in her research. A partnership with Rochester's Seneca Park Zoo will allow her to conduct visual object recognition research using semi-aquatic North American river otters.

"This partnership with the zoo will allow me to share my research with zoo visitors," adds DeLong. "Specially designed exhibits and programs will engage zoo visitors and allow me to collect lots of interesting new data. This is a researcher's dream project."


Contact: Vienna Carvalho-McGrain
Rochester Institute of Technology

Related biology news :

1. Devastating psychological effects of BP Gulf disaster are explored in Ecopsychology journal
2. The psychology of food cravings
3. Premier issue of Ecopsychology launched by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. publishers
4. New ecopsychology journal will premiere in spring 2009
5. Darwins seminal impact on biology, anthropology, philosophy and psychology
6. Rutgers professor uses lichen to help cities go green
7. New book from NJIT professor focuses on art, science and evolution
8. UT professor elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
9. Recognition for 7 Concordia professors
10. Professor Peter J. Coffeys stem cell therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration expected to begin clinical trials in 2012
11. Professor Doug Hilton wins Milstein Award for cytokine research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... their offering. The report forecasts ... grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the ... report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was once again ... of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest 50 Awards ... Las Vegas . Winners are ... of the following categories: net square feet of paid exhibit ... 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out of 50 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 22, 2016 ... of identity management and verification solutions, has ... cutting edge software solutions for Visitor Management, ... ® provides products that add functional ... The partnership provides corporations and venues with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national childhood cancer ... bioinformatics lab, using ,big data, to advance the pace ... Liz Scott , co-executive director of ALSF and Alex,s ... Washington, D.C. , hosted by Vice President ... pediatric cancer research and awareness. The ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Global demand ... 4.6 percent through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This ... and beverages, cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, ... biotechnology, diagnostics, and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will ... driven by increasing consumption of products containing enzymes ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" or ... its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP and ... based venture capital funds which together hold ... a fully diluted, as converted basis), that they have ... entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings Co. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... enabling healthier lives through the development of innovative products ... the United States denied its ... the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 ... criteria established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services ...
Breaking Biology Technology: