Although various recognizing abilities have been revealed for octopuses, they predominantly deal with only a few species. Therefore, cognition diversity among other octopus species that have been overlooked needs to be investigated. We investigated whether plain-body octopus can learn a symbolic stimulus, for the reason that this octopus is abundant around Okinawa Island with a complex coral community landscape. Attention was paid to whether an octopus can learn a stimulus based solely on visual information without previous experience of learning it tactilely as well as visually. Furthermore, we examined whether different sensory inputs affect learning in octopuses. First, we tested whether octopuses can be conditioned to three different stimuli (object, picture, and video of a white cross). Octopuses that were presented an object or a picture could learn to touch them. However, octopuses that were presented a video could not learn to touch the stimulus. Second, we showed a video to octopuses that had already learned about an object or a picture to investigate whether the octopuses, having experienced a target using visual and tactile senses, can recognize a video of the target based solely on visual information. Octopuses could learn to touch the video. When a conditioned stimulus and a novel stimulus were simultaneously presented on a computer screen, an octopus that had learned an object more often selected the conditioned stimulus when compared with an octopus that had experienced only a picture. These findings suggest that octopuses use multisensory information to recognize a specific object.
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Vol. 38 • No. 5