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Title:The Octopus: Eight Arms or Eight Minds?
Author(s):Tran, Andrew; Duman, Alex
Contributor(s):Gillette, Rhanor
Subject(s):octopus nervous system
Nervous System
Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Abstract:Octopuses expertly coordinate eight arms that contain as much as two-thirds of their entire nervous system. In fact, the arms are very sensitive and are capable of distinguishing between different textures in their environment. Our research aims to determine if learning and memory can be stored in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) of Octopus rubescens. In the picture, the octopus is using its eight arms to feel and learn how to unscrew the cap and reach the shrimp inside. We hypothesize that the arms are able to store tactile information in the PNS. To test our hypothesis, each octopus is conditioned to associate food with a roughtextured die and an electric shock with a soft-textured die. After training each arm, Lidocaine is used to block neural signaling between the PNS and central nervous system. Each die is then introduced to the arms and grasp time will be measured to determine if the PNS can store tactile information. This research has the potential to explain both the functions of the octopus nervous system as well as provide insight as to how our nervous system functions. Awarded First Prize in the Undergraduate Image of Research Contest 2016. For more information about the Image of Research--Undergraduate Edition go to:
Issue Date:2016-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Alex Duman & Andrew Tran
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-04-19

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