This is a repost. The original article was published on October 30, 2008.
If you have heard of dogs doing tricks, now there are fish doing tricks at fish school. At fish school, operant conditioning and shapes are used to teach fish how to do tricks. Some of the tricks (which you can see in this video) consist of putting a soccer ball in a goal, going through tubes and rings, and learning limbo.
Fish school was created by a father and his son who though that their fish were too boring. Later they set up different tricks for the fish and trained their fish to perform them.
One way the fish perform tricks is because they respond to shapes. Goldfish actually have a three month memory span rather than a small amount of seconds which they were believed to have had. The other way that the fish learn tricks is by operant conditioning with a reward of food. Once the fish is led trough the trick course with the food on the stick, then it is fed. This process is repeated until the fish can perform the trick without having to follow the food on the stick.
The experts at the Universities of Edinburgh, St. Andrews have performed tests to find more about fish intelligence. They concluded that fish are very intelligent creatures. One of the hypothesis about how the fish got their intelligence is that because fish are the most ancient of the vertebrate groups on earth and they evolved and became smarter over time. Fish are now known to have social intelligence. Fish have stable cultural traditions and they work together to inspect predators and catch food.
How do goldfish respond to color or light? Is there another way for goldfish to learn? How else could goldfish have gotten their intelligence?