Habituation is a learning mechanism that functions to decrease the amount of energy and attention focused on a certain stimuli. Male Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens, are territorial animals that defend their territories using a number of aggressive displays. Male Bettas have previously shown the ability to habituate to the presence of a conspecific male when visually exposed to each other. Due to the costly nature of many of the male Betta’s displays, I hypothesized that male Bettas should differentially habituate to qualitatively different stimuli. I presented each of three groups of male Betta splendens with a different stimulus, each presenting a different level of interactivity. I predicted that the Bettas would be more likely to habituate to a less interactive stimulus than a more interactive one. No significant habituation was observed in any of the groups and no significant differences in latency to display or length of display between all three groups were observed. However, overall data trends suggest that habituation was indeed occurring and that the three different stimuli elicited different levels of display. The limited amount of visual exposure to the stimuli in this experiment might account for why results were insignificant.
Baard, Lauren, "Differential Habituation of Male Betta Splendens to Qualitatively Different Stimuli" (2006). Undergraduate Research Symposium (UGRS). 1.
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