Observational Learning in Octopus vulgaris

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Science  24 Apr 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5056, pp. 545-547
DOI: 10.1126/science.256.5056.545


Untrained Octopus vulgaris (observers) were allowed to watch conditioned Octopus(demonstrators) perform the task of selecting one of two objects that were presented simultaneously and differed only in color. After being placed in isolation, the observers, in a similar test, consistently selected the same object as did the demonstrators. This learning by observation occurred irrespective of the object chosen by the demonstrators as the positive choice and was more rapid than the learning that occurred during the conditioning of animals. The task was performed correctly without significant errors and further conditioning for 5 days. These results show that observational learning can occur in invertebrates.

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