Differences in Associative Learning Across Personality Types in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) (2023)

Corcoran, J. M. (2023). Differences in Associative Learning Across Personality Types in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) [Master's thesis, University of Nebraska]. University of Nebraska at Omaha ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. https://www.proquest.com/openv...


Speed accuracy trade-offs are commonly seen in learning. These trade-offs may be related to other behavioral traits, such as personality. I investigated the relationship between speed-accuracy trade-offs and the bold-shy personality continuum by assessing learning capabilities of personality types in zebrafish using a classical and operant learning task. In the classical task, bold fish learned significantly faster than shy fish. However, there were no differences in the total behavior change between personality types. I also did not find any significant correlation between speed and strength of learning in the classical task. In the operant task, there was no clear evidence of learning. Bold fish made significantly more choices than shy fish but by the last session, there was no difference in choices made between the personality types. In the operant task, there was no significant relationship between decision time and accuracy. The only significant difference in learning strength and speed measures across tasks was that treatment and controls differed in learning measures in the classical task and not in the operant task. This study supports that bold fish tend to be faster learners but suggests that the factors that cause faster learning do not also cause a greater strength of learning. Overall the results provide support for a relationship between learning and personality but suggest that speed and strength trade-offs in learning are more complex and may depend on factors like the difficulty of the task or how strength is measured.