Exploration and habituation in intact free moving Octopus vulgaris

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Kuba, Michael J.
Byrne, Ruth A.
Meisel, Daniela V.
Mather, Jennifer A.
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University of California eScholarship
Despite the huge numbers of studies published on the learning of cephalopod mollusks, studies on non-associative learning are scarce. We tested non-associative learning (habituation) and exploration in Octopus vulgaris in two different studies using a prey-shaped object (Study A) and inanimate objects and food objects (Study B). Study A consisted of the repeated presentation of a prey-like stimulus, which 23 subjects could only explore visually. In study B, 14 octopuses were presented two Lego blocks (one black and white with a smooth surface, one a blue "snowflake" with a rough surface) and two food items, one preferred (clams) and one non-preferred (mussels) inside their home tanks. As hunger is a motivational factor for exploratory behavior, different levels of food satiation (feeding 2h or 24 h prior to experiments) were tested. Within trial habituation was clearly documented in both experiments. In study A across trials habituation was found for all animals, whereas it was only significant in 5 animals in Study B.
Open access article. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported LIcense (CC BY 3.0) applies
Octopus vulgaris , Non-associative learning , Exploratory behavior , Habituation
Kuba, M. J., Byrne, R. A., Meisel, D. V., & Mather, J. A. (2006). Exploration and habituation in intact free moving Octopus vulgaris. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 19, (4), 426-438. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/30k9h256