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Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the or-was-that-redundant dept.

Television 482

Whiteox writes about an Australian researcher named Renata Pronk, who has discovered that octopuses prefer HDTV. She recruited 32 gloomy octopuses from the waters of Chowder Bay. Previously, researchers have reported little success when showing video to octopuses. Miss Pronk's insight was that the octopus eye is so refined that it might see standard PAL video, at 25 fps, as a series of stills. She tried HDTV (50 fps) and her subjects reacted to the videos of a crab, another octopus, or a swinging bottle on the end of a string. A further discovery is that octopuses show no trait of individual personalities, even though they exhibit a high level of intelligence. It would certainly be possible to quibble about the definition of "personality" employed, and whether Miss Pronk had successfully measured it.

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Sounds like... (4, Funny)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194861)

...your standard geek.

What, too close to home? :)

Re:Sounds like... (5, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194995)

...your standard geek.

Hey, I know tons of geeks with tons of personalities... just check their character sheets!

Re:Sounds like... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195209)

I once met a guy who had to role a die to decide whether to laugh or cry.

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195357)

See, there's two personalities right there!

Re:Sounds like... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195401)

Laughing and crying are actions, not personalities.

Re:Sounds like... (5, Funny)

Talgrath (1061686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195513)

It is...*rolls*...a pleasure to meet you!

Re:Sounds like... (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195039)

Actually, I'd have to disagree with the assessment of no personality in octopuses. I had a common octopus (octopus vulgaris) as a pet (her name was Cephus, short for cephalopod) for almost two years and she most absolutely displayed a personality completely different from another octopus that I had as a pet for about a year.

Re:Sounds like... (5, Funny)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195385)

Ah, but were you showing them TV a lot? That tends to destroy even invertebrates'
personalities.

Re:Sounds like... (2, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195415)

Yeah, she heard that you killed the first one off after less than a year and thought "I'd better perform or he'll do me in, too!"

Maybe she was just a bad actor?

Tax dollars at work (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194867)

Isn't government interference in everyday life a wonderful thing?

Re:Tax dollars at work (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26194963)

Almost as wonderful as people who are so fixated and fanatical as to interject inane and unrelated political comment in a science story about octopus.

Re:Tax dollars at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195333)

You're complaining about gov't funding for octopus research instead of the 18 billion for the auto companies, or the 800 billion bailout for the financial sector?

That's kind of like being gang raped by every stockbroker on Wall Street and then complaining about the jism in your hair.

Re:Tax dollars at work (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195481)

That's kind of like being gang raped by every stockbroker on Wall Street and then complaining about the jism in your hair.

that's still a valid complaint, though.

Personality (1)

genican1 (1150855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194877)

So all octopi act exactly the same?

Re:Personality (5, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194937)

FTFA:
"The definition of personality," she said, "is having repetition in your responses, for example, being consistently bold, or consistently shy, or consistently aggressive."

She went on to say that any individual octopus had random, inconsistent, reactions to the same stimuli on any random day.

Re:Personality (5, Funny)

codename.matrix (889422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194955)

So octopus are like women?

Re:Personality (1, Funny)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195009)

I wish I had a mod point for you...

Re:Personality (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195185)

Q: What do you get when you cross an Octupus and a Mexican?

A: I don't know, but it sure can pick a lot of broccoli!

Re:Personality (1)

ponraul (1233704) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195501)

I get the Mexican part. But, can someone explain the octopus part?

Re:Personality (-1, Troll)

xs650 (741277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195509)

An eight row tomato picker.

Re:Personality (5, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195199)

No, octopuses are not inherently evil. You are thinking of krakens.

Re:Personality (4, Interesting)

yali (209015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195173)

But whether you'll observe consistent responses to stimuli will depend on whether you're (a) measuring the right responses and (b) using the right stimuli. In this case, the stimuli were video images. Other researchers [inist.fr] have found personality differences when using real stimuli. Maybe there is something about video stimuli that overwhelms individual differences?

Re:Personality (1)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195507)

yea, they are amused by the quality of the images on the screen. I sense an advertising opportunity for HDTV manufacturers here!

Re:Personality (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195253)

That might be her definition of personality. Sounds like my definition of tedium.

Re:Personality (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26194991)

The plural is octopodes, not octopi.

Re:Personality (5, Funny)

Quasimodem (719423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195347)

I still prefer octopi, with a light brown crust.

Re:Personality (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195397)

Correct! I just found out about this myself from my girlfriend who happens to be a Linguistics major at UCLA. Mod parent up.

Re:Personality (2, Funny)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195463)

To make your intent clearer, you could have posted:

Correct! I just found out about this myself from a Linguistics major at UCLA who just happens to be my girlfriend. Which is to say: I have a girlfriend. Big me up.

Re:Personality (1)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195021)

No, it just means they are all different... wait! Hmmmmm...

Re:Personality (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195103)

Not really. These are just the Ozzie octopuses.

Re:Personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195473)

It's spelled "Aussie", you insensitive clod!!!

How could they... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26194883)

Only Australians would be cruel enough to give Vegemite to poor defenseless octopi.

Re:How could they... (0, Offtopic)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195261)

I spent three years in Australia back in the 70's and never did learn to enjoy eating Vegemite... it certainly has an acquired taste whether in soup, gravy or on a piece of bread.

How the kids can devour it is beyond me.

I do agree that giving Vegemite to an octopus should be against the law.

Re:How could they... (5, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195417)

There is a long standing law in Australia, if a child doesn't eat vegemite, said child is fed to dingos.

Re:How could they... (1, Informative)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195449)

There are really only 2 tricks to learning to eat Vegemite - both based around the same fact.

This stuff ain't peanut butter or jam!

  1. Do NOT expect a sweet taste.
  2. Spread it thin. Real thin. (I'm convinced that Fry's "big heaping bowl of salt" was actually an hallucination brought on by a thickly spread Vegemite sandwich)

Re:How could they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195469)

Vegemite is vile. Marmite (British marmite) is awesome.

"Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26194885)

When I read that headline, I thought it applied to many of the people I know as well...

Re:"Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV (1)

frieko (855745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195159)

Yeah, I know a few eight-footed people too..

Re:"Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195285)

When I read that headline, I thought it applied to many of the people I know as well...

To put it simply Octopuses are natural born couch potatoes. Makes you wonder how they'd react to a beer can?

Re:"Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195423)

...her subjects reacted to the videos of a crab, another octopus, or a swinging bottle on the end of a string

Can we assume it was a beer bottle?

Correlation is not causation (4, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194901)

just remember that.

Re:Correlation is not causation (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195025)

People who don't understand statistics and scientific research methods, but like to pretend they are the smartest people on earth, love to say that phrase, just remember that.

Re:Correlation is not causation (5, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195145)

People who don't understand statistics and scientific research methods, but like to pretend they are the smartest people on earth, love to say that phrase, just remember that.

I'm in good company, then. I'll remember that.

Btw, I only tried to be funny. Mabye I failed; we'll have to wait for the modding.

Re:Correlation is not causation (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195197)

People who don't understand statistics and scientific research methods, but like to pretend they are the smartest people on earth, love to say that phrase, just remember that.

So, there is a correlation, but that doesn't meant there is a...

Re:Correlation is not causation (0, Flamebait)

Shark (78448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195457)

Hehe, tell that to the man-made global warming gang (and watch my karma dive for merely mentioning it).

Seriously though, scientific measurement of personality in a creature so different from us humans probably would require a bit more than what they did. Can't fault them for trying though... Except perhaps in the 'what use do we have for such knowledge' way.

Re:Correlation is not causation (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195471)

But some people who love to say that understand do statistics and scientific research methods. Which just goes to show.

I shall name my first child Renata Pronk (5, Funny)

EsJay (879629) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194911)

That is all.

Re:I shall name my first child Renata Pronk (4, Funny)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195049)

poor boy...

This will help HUMANS (1, Flamebait)

[000000] (130723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194913)

How and why? Whats this project fund for?

Re:This will help HUMANS (2, Funny)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195195)

Coz when the octopi rise up and enslave us, we will know how to curry favour with our new masters.

Re:This will help HUMANS (5, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195227)

Coz when the octopi rise up and enslave us, we will know how to curry favour with our new masters.

Mmmm, curried octopus...

Re:This will help HUMANS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195413)

I for one, welcome our new Octopi Overlords.

intelligence != idiosyncratic preference (1)

critical_point (1430417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194915)

I sometimes wonder why humans evolved to be so irrational, and since societies' proliferation of individual preferences is one example of this I hope that this research continues to be funded.

Re:intelligence != idiosyncratic preference (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195001)

I sometimes wonder why humans evolved to be so irrational, and since societies' proliferation of individual preferences is one example of this I hope that this research continues to be funded.

I think the dichotomy of individual differences versus tendency to groupthink has served us well for a couple million years. Also, human's are irrational compared to what? We are wired to many cueues that made much more sense even a thousand years ago. Our irrational behavior got us to the point where we could put a few men on the moon. We will retrain our brains to get to the point of putting mankind into space. Eventually, we might evolve to better fit the envirorment we created for ourselves.

Also, you could argue that there are more important events in human history, or even space flight than landing on the moon. However, my irrational human brain likes the idea of being able to name a specific concrete event, as opposed to something less concrete like, "the proliferation of the internet."

Did anyone read that as HGTV? (3, Funny)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194923)

HGTV -- Home and Garden Television : The bane of many a married man's existence. Maybe they should design octopus habitats that adhere to the principles of Feng Shui : "Oh my god! That's perfect! It just balances out the energy of the algae encrusted rock in the center!"

jdb2

Re:Did anyone read that as HGTV? (4, Insightful)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195087)

You're kidding right? If anything slashdoters would misread HGTV as HDTV.

Octopi are Awesome! (5, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194929)

I think that by understanding a creature as alien to us as an octopus, we're learning more about what is 'intelligence'. While they're not going to be developing a civilization any time soon, its cool to have an invertebrate that on many levels is closer to primate intelligence than many mammals.

Re:Octopi are Awesome! (5, Informative)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194981)

What's hindering them from developing a civilization soon ( In geological time of course ;) is the fact that their lifespans are so short. For example, I believe that the Giant Pacific Octopus only lives for about 4-5 years. It's saddening that such beauty and intelligence only graces this Earth for such a short time. :(

jdb2

Re:Octopi are Awesome! (5, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195211)


We should selectively breed some octopi for greater life span. They are beautiful and fascinating creatures and it would be wonderful if we had some longer lived ones to watch and spend time with.

Re:Octopi are Awesome! (1)

MinutiaeMan (681498) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195289)

Then they become smarter than us and take over? I think I saw that movie.

Re:Octopi are Awesome! (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195445)


Hmmm.... Looking at recent human governments I have one thing to say: "I VOTE FOR THE OCTOPUS!"

Lifespan isn't the most critical. (4, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195303)

What's hindering them from developing a civilization soon ( In geological time of course ;) is the fact that their lifespans are so short.

Humanity has been able to carry on numerous projects on a bigger scale than the average human's lifespan.

My personal idea about the prerequisite for a civilisation are :
- A decent way to interact with the environment (at least octopi have plenty of tentacles - dolphins on the other hand, however big their brain is, don't have the physically mean to put their brain at work on much things)
- A good a quite developed communication system (we humans have speech - octopi seem to have colour-changing communication)
- A life cycle including nurturing the small. If the parents of a specie have to take care of their kids during their first months/years, that gives also a chance to teach them (thanks to good communication) what they have learned to do with their arms. As opposed to animals whose children are 100% autonomous after birth and can immediately wander on their own.
That's where this whole business of "programmed death after reproduction" sucks. Not because 4-5 years is short, but because they are genetically programmed to self-destruct (or starve to death if the self-destruction glands are removed) not long after laying eggs (about the time the eggs hatch according to wikipedia).
There's no nurturing of the kids. Whatever cool and neat trick the parent octopi may have learnt dies with them. They don't get a chance to transmit it to their children.

Because of this no culture can be carried on, and with this : no civilisation.

But don't despair there's a kind of mutation called neoteny [wikipedia.org] where some individual are able to reproduce without having acquired all characteristics of adult and still retaining some juvenile trait. Some future octopi may mutate and be able to reproduce, yet not die once the eggs hatches.

Re:Lifespan isn't the most critical. (4, Funny)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195437)

A good a quite developed communication system

...and that boys and girls, is the definition of irony.

Re:Lifespan isn't the most critical. (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195483)

Humanity has been able to carry on numerous projects on a bigger scale than the average human's lifespan.

It's a wonder that drosophilae haven't got it together yet.

Re:Lifespan isn't the most critical. (2, Interesting)

SwabTheDeck (1030520) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195493)

Communication is critical to developing civilization and lifespan is critical to developing communication. Let's pretend for a moment that octupuses have the same cognitive capacity as human beings and that they have somehow established a form of communication as verbose as our spoken/written language. It takes a human child at least 5 years to gain reasonable command of the language to express his/herself effectively, and many more years after that to communicate complex ideas about society. The brightest of us may be able to grasp these harder concepts by the late teens, while most people probably won't quite get it until at least their mid-20s. If octopuses are only living to the age of 5, they'll never be able to establish a suitably verbose language, nor will their offspring be able to absorb and command this language before their own deaths.

Cues... (1)

perlhacker14 (1056902) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194939)

Cue the nerd insults: 'Yeah, well, you're an octopus!'

Renata looks like a hottie to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26194945)

http://www.sims.org.au/research/Pronk-MQ-octopus.cfm
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/octopuses-give-eight-thumbs-up-for-highdefinition-tv/2008/12/19/1229189886181.html

Re:Renata looks like a hottie to me... (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195409)


So she does. But I suspect she'd just think of me as a creature with no personality and far too many arms. ;)

(though that is only half-right).

Octopusses announce Reseacher has no Personality (5, Funny)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194961)

Oceanianica News (Deep under Chowder Bay): In an important press release today the octopuses involved in the Cowderbay Excursion report on their scientific excursion into the ape territory to assess the intelligence and personality of the horrific to look at four creatures with four limbs that only move on two of them that call themselves humans. The 32 members of the scientific team were specially trained in observational techniques that emphasized uniform behaviors so as to minimize the impact of their presence on the lower life forms being studied.

A four limbed creature who self identifies as "Miss Pronk" was extensively interviewed and examined. She attempted to use primitive externalized colored skin image projectors to get the 32 excursion members to react. Her primitive attempts at communication failed with what she called "PAL". Then the subject attempted to communicate using something she called "HDTV" by showing images of food. At the sight of a captive octopus the excursion members elected for a quick withdrawal back to the forward base camp in Chowder Bay (human's name for it). The members of the excursion ensured at all times to not reveal any individuality by using the uniform motion training instilled in all octopus from birth.

An assessment from the team after their safe return to Aquatica City was that the human subject lacked any personality during any of the tests. She failed to move on her two upper limbs and also failed to use her lower limbs except for moving about. In addition she had enclosed herself inside an flexible and rigid outer shell and refused all attempts to leave her shell so that we could examine her personality up close.

Naturally the humans require additional study. Under no circumstances should attempts be made to communicate with them until the safe return of the captive octopus hostages can be executed.

In addition it was discovered that while some humans have an additional appendage that is usually kept in the shell the human self identified as Miss Pronk failed to accept any of the advances by the others to have her interact with this appendage. For this reason we conclude that Miss Pronk has no personality.

Septopus (1)

SonicEarth (1246632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194973)

What about the septopus?

Re:Septopus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195167)

It would be a heptopus anyway.

Never the same color (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26194993)

If they see PAL as a series of stills, do they get visibly angry when forced to watch NTSC?

Re:Never the same color (2, Informative)

WD (96061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195031)

You do realize that NTSC has a faster frame rate than PAL, right?

Re:Never the same color (2, Interesting)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195193)

And ms.Pronk does not seem to realise that even PAL has a field rate of 50Hz, not 25 (and on many new flatscreens that is horrible redisplayed at 60hz..)

Field rate is what atters when it comes to seeing refreshed motion, so if they can easily see issues in PAL, they will also see issues in wither 50i or 50p 'HDTV' signals.

So, its either a resolution issue, or more likely an error in measurement.

Of course the reason most home 'hunting' animals (dogs, cats) dont react much to tv is that they have excellent depth perception, so the flat screen is obviously false to them.

HDTV inaccuracies in article (4, Informative)

WD (96061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194997)

Ok, a couple of problems here:
- Standard video is not 24 frames per second, as the original article states. That's the speed for film, not video.
- 1080i HDTV is displayed at the same frame rate as standard definition TV. In PAL land, that's 50 fields per second, which makes 25 frames per second.
- Even at 720p's 50 full frames per second in PAL countries, that does not give the perception of smoother motion. SDTV will give you 50 half-resolution fields per second, and 720P will give you 50 full-resolution frames per second. The motion smoothness will be essentially the same. The real difference is the resolution delivered with each picture.

Re:HDTV inaccuracies in article (5, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195331)

1080i HDTV is displayed at the same frame rate as standard definition TV. In PAL land, that's 50 fields per second, which makes 25 frames per second.

Only if it's 1080i25/1080i30 and not 1080i50/1080i60

Even at 720p's 50 full frames per second in PAL countries, that does not give the perception of smoother motion.

Yes it does. There are no interlacing artifacts for the horizontal component of the motion.

The motion smoothness will be essentially the same

No, because the claim is that the octopus can see the individual pictures (i.e. fields) at 25/30 fps. Where there is significant horizontal motion in an a picture where each field is only updated every 1/25th of a second, the octopus may be able to see each field being updated. At 50 progressive fields per second the entire image is updated at twice the rate. This of course depends on the display type.

We have to remember that one reason CRT's look "smooth" to us is persistence of vision. We don't notice the light intensity fade over 1/25th of a second as the electron beam scans out the rest of the picture. However, the octopus's persistence of vision may be different. Imagine for a moment that the octopus see's the old "standard definition" display the same was as we see an old CRT when viewed through a camcorder: With big bands running across it due to the scanning done by the electron beam. Maybe with HDTV, where CRT technology is less likely to be used, this is no longer the case and thus the octopus sees the picture as real.

Anyway, to me this is perfectly plausible. We shouldn't be dismissive so quickly towards a behavior that has actually been observed for several subjects, even if we can't instantly explain it.

Re:HDTV inaccuracies in article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195345)

It's the film speed that matters here though. If standard video is filmed at 24 FPS and HDTV is filmed at 50 FPS, then to something capable of effectively recognizing motion at 50 FPS, the video filmed at 24 FPS will not appear to move about every other visual recognition period.

It's like if when reading this you saw "TThhiiss iiss aa ssaammppllee sseenntteennccee.." instead of "This is a sample sentence."

Yawn (-1, Troll)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26194999)

what the fuck is this?

Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV (5, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195005)

So, in other words, they're just like most slashdotters?

Test and control (4, Interesting)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195007)

"that it might see standard PAL video, at 25 fps, as a series of stills. She tried HDTV (50 fps)"

So she changed the resolution, and the framerate... and so she now does not know if it is the pixel desity or the framerate that made the difference. In addition, it would be good to note the display type as analog and digital displays work differently...

Error in TFA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195017)

Her name is actually ANITA. Anita Pronk.

Re:Error in TFA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195129)

Offtopic? It's a joke, you moron.

All this talk of Octupus... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195057)

...made me really hungry!

No Personality? (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195059)

I disagree [dailymotion.com] .

Re:No Personality? (2)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195515)

Mod parent up -- nice animation! (And no Rickroll)

this is... (1)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195135)

PRONKING amazing!

Those wacky austrailian octopi games ... (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195157)

This almost seems like an Ig Nobel coming in early. But being that this is the holiday season, I'll bite, at the expense of our Australian folks.

She recruited 32 gloomy octopuses from the waters of Chowder Bay.

Um, not for me to peck around at Australian dialect, but I think the proper word would be incarcerated.

Previously, researchers have reported little success when showing video to octopuses.

WTF?!?! Austrailian scientists: "Hey, what should we do this afternoon?" "Ah, let's show some video to the octopi." Try "Buckaroo Banzai," I think that they will like that one. It's kinda funny, if you understand octopi humor. "Miami Vice" is right out.

She tried HDTV (50 fps) and her subjects reacted to the videos of a crab, another octopus, or a swinging bottle on the end of a string.

After this treatment, I'd grab for the bottle in an instant.

A further discovery is that octopuses show no trait of individual personalities, even though they exhibit a high level of intelligence.

Just the other day I tossed a chick out of the bed, and said, "You *really* have a great personality, but you are so cold and slimy."

Not a surprise at all... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195179)

In fact, you'd wonder why she even needed to bother. Most animals have eyesight that is not as good as humans' in acuity, but much better at picking up motion and flicker.

    In other words, while they couldn't read text at a distance (even if they could read), regular TV looks quite "flickery" to them. That's the reason why most dogs are not interested in watching television.

    Also, the octopus eye is probably much like a dog's eye: In every structure of the canine eyeball, they have sacrificed detailed acuity in favor of light-gathering ability. The sensitivity to motion is what still lets them hunt their prey.

Me too! (4, Funny)

Steve1952 (651150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195187)

I also have no personality and prefer HDTV!

Re:Me too! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195499)

So, how many arms do you have?

Pronk! (5, Funny)

tzjanii (1170411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195203)

I want to thank all of the noble Slashdot readers who tagged this story "Pronk," yet again proving their intelligence and foresight in picking a tag which I am sure will occur again and often in the future. Their brave efforts at usefully categorizing articles never ceases to astound.

Best Headline Ever (2, Insightful)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195223)

Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV

This has to be the single greatest slashdot headline I've ever read.... research performed on two seemingly unrelated things combined into one project. Cue bad jokes about what television shows those with 'no personalities' must enjoy.

Re:Best Headline Ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26195237)

She must have shown them some of those old Hanna-Barbera Squiddly Diddly cartoons.

No personality and likes HDTV? (1, Offtopic)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195225)

Sounds like my ex.

Hit or...? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195229)

Is there really a need to identify whether or not Pronk is married? What bearing does this have on the story? Or is it really just a way to subtly discount her research 'cause it came from, you know, a woman.

Kinda like humans... (5, Funny)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195297)

"A further discovery is that octopuses show no trait of individual personalities, even though they exhibit a high level of intelligence."

In other words, they are like 90%+ of the human population. Except for the high level of intelligence part, of course.

It's Chowder... (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195383)

CHOW-DER!, say it Frenchy!!!

and why would they exhibit personality in a lab (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195411)

that they are held captive, in probable danger of life, confined in various containers ?

do people exhibit their personalities and normal behaviour when thrown to jail temporarily ?

Re:and why would they exhibit personality in a lab (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26195517)

Prisoners have individual personalities, your analogy is flawed.

Dogs and horses have personalities, and they are held in captivity. Even small pet lizards seem to have behaviors that are unique to each individual, and they are most certainly confined in small containers for their entire life.

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