Re: memetics-digest V1 #1463

Date: Mon 26 Jan 2004 - 15:45:53 GMT

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    >>the third octopus also developed the teddy phobia.
    > Have you got a reference for that?

    I remember the story quite clearly but cannot remember where it came from. In my search to find the source, however, I came across something that might ultimately be more useful:

    Robert, M. (1990). Observational Learning in Fish, Birds, and Mammals: A Classified Bibliography Spanning over 100 Years of Research. "Psych Record, 40": 289-311.

    "Science" *did* publish an octopus study in 1992 by Graziano Fiorito and Pietro Scotto but their research has since suffered from some methodological criticism. In addition, after the dust settled, Jean Boal (an animal behaviourist at Millersville University in Pennsylvania) withdrew her own initial findings of complex learning by octopuses and other cephalopods. While the Fiorito & Scotto article wasn't the study I was looking for, Boal's reaction seems to put the lie to my story.

    I will keep looking but, in the interim, think of my story as focussing on three chimps instead. For my intended purpose, which was to suggest at a means for measuring memes, it doesn't really matter whether it was really an octopus or not.

    Jeremy Burman

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