[News]: Octopuses give eight thumbs up for high-definition TV - Sydney Morning Heral

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by octobot, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. octobot

    octobot Robotic Staff Staff Member Robotic Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Messages:
    6,866
    Likes Received:
    79
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Er, aren't most HDTVs LCD-based, which would send very odd polarization signals?

    Anyway, I'm dubious about the claim that this shows octopuses lack personality... particularly since Mather showed that they do have personalities: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/06/octopus.html

    Maybe this is more of a problem that the reporter was overzealous than the experiment was wrong, though.
     
  3. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,083
    Likes Received:
    1,129
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Anyone who has ever kept several octopuses of the same species would disagree with her personality findings. I don't really disagree, after thinking about it, with her definition but I definitely think the experiment was badly flawed.
     
  4. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,580
    Likes Received:
    4
    Wait, if some puffed themselves up in response and some didn't, doesn't that show something already? We could draw a comparison between a person faced with a hard task and how the fight or flight response kicks in. Although it's a bit of a stretch, that may POSSIBLY indicate some sort of individual response.
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,083
    Likes Received:
    1,129
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    I was thinking more of children. Depending on any number of factors, they may or may not want to say, sit in Santa's lap (something they don't do every day) the day you go for pictures. Tomorrow they might act differently, does that mean they don't have personalities?
     
  6. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    The more I think about it, the more I suspect the reporter just overstated the research... I bet the actual result is "we wanted to see if showing videos would reveal the same personalities identified by Mather, and we found that responses to videos didn't appear to measure any objective quality of the octopuses over time."
     
  7. Amygdalan

    Amygdalan Blue Ring Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Article - Octopuses Prefer HDTV/No Personality?

    I'm sure many here will disagree with the personality assumptions she has made.

    Octopuses give eight thumbs up for high-def TV
    Richard Macey
    December 21, 2008 - 12:30PM

    Advertisement
    Sharing a movie with an insensitive eight-armed animal may not be every woman's perfect date.

    Renata Pronk did it for science, and made two significant discoveries.

    Her unsettling news for Christmas revellers preparing to tuck into seafood platters is that octopuses can watch television and understand at least some of what they see. Discriminating viewers, however, they enjoy only high-definition programs.

    In a second finding, the Macquarie University marine biology researcher resolved a long scientific debate, discovering that octopuses, despite their intelligence, lack individual personalities.

    "Octopuses," Miss Pronk said, "are very smart. I have seen my octopuses open Vegemite jars by unscrewing the lid. They can find their way through mazes to reach food rewards at the end.

    "And they can learn simple puzzles", recognising that symbols, such as squares or circles, mean food is available.

    "The definition of personality," she said, "is having repetition in your responses, for example, being consistently bold, or consistently shy, or consistently aggressive."

    To resolve the debate she collected 32 common Sydney, or gloomy, octopuses from Chowder Bay, near Mosman, and showed them a series of three-minute videos screened on a monitor in front of their tank.

    One video featured a crab, an octopus delicacy.

    A second starred another octopus, while a third had a "novel object" they would not have seen: a plastic bottle swinging on a string.

    Miss Pronk then watched each octopus for any consistent response pattern, such as boldness or aggression.

    When the crab movie was screened "they jetted straight over to the monitor and tried to attack it", she said, adding that was strong evidence they knew they were watching food.

    When the octopus movie was screened some became aggressive while others changed their skin camouflage or "would go and hide in a corner, moving as far away as possible".

    On viewing the swinging bottle, some puffed themselves up, just in case the object was a threat, while others paid no attention.

    But significantly, when the experiment was repeated over several days, she found no consistent response from any octopus. Such random responses implied octopuses have no individual personalities.

    She suspected previous efforts to show movies to octopuses failed because their sophisticated eyes were too fast for the 24-frame per second format of standard-definition video.

    "They would have seen it as a series of still pictures," said Miss Pronk, who had success using high-definition, operating at 50 frames per second.

    She confessed that her work made it difficult to dine on octopus. "I know how smart they are. They are beautiful animals."

    Source: The Sun-Herald

    This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/12/21/1229794225193.html

    (edit: moved to existing discussion -Monty)
     

Share This Page