Laterality influences cognitive performance in rainbowfish Melanotaenia duboulayi

Anne Laurence Bibost, Culum Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Cerebral lateralization has been suggested to convey a selective advantage to individuals by enhancing their cognitive abilities. Few, however, have explicitly compared the cognitive ability of animals with strongly contrasting laterality. Here, we examined the influence of laterality on learning performance in the crimson spotted rainbowfish, Melanotaenia duboulayi, using a classical conditioning paradigm. We also compared the learning ability of wild caught and captive-reared fish to examine the influence of rearing environment on cognitive performance. Laterality was established by observing which eye fish preferred to use while viewing their mirror image. Subjects were then conditioned to associate the appearance of a red light with a food reward over 7 days. Our results revealed that left-lateralized fish learned the conditioning task faster than right-lateralized. These results provide further evidence that cerebral lateralization can play important roles in cognitive function which likely have diverse fitness consequences for animals in their natural environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1051
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Cerebral lateralization
  • Cognition
  • Conditioning
  • Fitness
  • Hatchery
  • Rearing environment

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Laterality influences cognitive performance in rainbowfish <i>Melanotaenia duboulayi</i>'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this