Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fearless fish forget their phobias

Date:
March 23, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Imagine if your fear of spiders, heights or flying could be cured with a simple injection. Research suggests that one day this could be a reality.

Imagine if your fear of spiders, heights or flying could be cured with a simple injection. Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions suggests that one day this could be a reality.

Related Articles


The cerebellum, an area of the brain thought to be involved with the development of our fears, was studied in goldfish by researchers at the University of Hiroshima in Japan. Using classical conditioning, Masayuki Yoshida and Ruriko Hirano taught their fish to become afraid of a light flashed in their eyes. By administering a low voltage electric shock every time a light was shone, the fish were taught to associate the light with being shocked, which slowed their hearts -- the typical fish reaction to a fright.

Yoshida explains, "As you would expect, the goldfish we used in our study soon became afraid of the flash of light because, whether or not we actually gave them a shock, they had quickly learned to expect one. Fear was demonstrated by their heart beats decreasing, in a similar way to how our heart rate increases when someone gives us a fright."

Humans can also be 'trained' to become afraid, and in fact, simple classical conditioning rooted in our childhood and early development can explain many of our behaviours. In this study however, the team discovered that fish that had first been injected in the cerebellum with lidocaine had stable heart rates and showed no fear when the light was shone -- they were unable to learn to become afraid.

Since the brains of goldfish show many similarities with those of mammals, including humans, it is hoped that with further study it may soon be possible to understand more about the biological and chemical processes that cause us to become afraid. For the goldfish, the effect of lidocaine is only temporary -- fearless fish return to being frightened fish as soon as the anaesthetic has worn off. Nevertheless, one day, our irrational phobias could become a thing of the past.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Masayuki Yoshida and Ruriko Hirano. Effects of local anesthesia of the cerebellum on classical fear conditioning in goldfish. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 2010; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Fearless fish forget their phobias." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322194802.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, March 23). Fearless fish forget their phobias. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322194802.htm
BioMed Central. "Fearless fish forget their phobias." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322194802.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins