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Data for: Fish can infer relations between colour cues in a non-social learning task


La Loggia, Océane; Rüfenacht, Angélique, Violaine; Taborsky, Barbara (2022), Data for: Fish can infer relations between colour cues in a non-social learning task, Dryad, Dataset,


Transitive inference (TI) describes the ability to infer relationships between stimuli that have never been seen together before. Social cichlids can use TI in a social setting where observers assess dominance status after witnessing contests between different dyads of conspecifics. If cognitive processes are domain-general, animals should use abilities evolved in a social context also in a non-social context. Therefore, if TI is domain-general in fish, social fish should be able to use TI also in non-social tasks. Here we tested whether the cooperatively-breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher can infer transitive relationships between artificial stimuli in a non-social context. We used an associative learning paradigm where the fish received a food reward when correctly solving a colour discrimination task. Eleven of twelve subjects chose the predicted outcome for TI in the first test trial and five subjects performed with 100% accuracy in six successive test trials. We found no evidence that the fish solved the TI task by value transfer. Our findings show that fish use TI also in non-social tasks with artificial stimuli, thus generalizing past results reported in a social context and hinting toward a domain-general cognitive mechanism.


Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung