Parallel mechanisms for visual search in zebrafish

Michael J. Proulx, Matthew O. Parker, Yasser Tahir, Caroline H. Brennan

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Parallel visual search mechanisms have been reported previously only in mammals and birds, and not animals lacking an expanded telencephalon such as bees. Here we report the first evidence for parallel visual search in fish using a choice task where the fish had to find a target amongst an increasing number of distractors. Following two-choice discrimination training, zebrafish were presented with the original stimulus within an increasing array of distractor stimuli. We found that zebrafish exhibit no significant change in accuracy and approach latency as the number of distractors increased, providing evidence of parallel processing. This evidence challenges theories of vertebrate neural architecture and the importance of an expanded telencephalon for the evolution of executive function.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere111540
Pages (from-to)e111540
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
Early online date29 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


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