Fish Do the Darndest Things

[Bruce Nevin (2017.07.23.16:30 ET)]

As you both have said, the main clues will be in the activity, not in the resulting pattern. Here’s a view of the action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee3GIPoLe6c

They say he plows the sand, breaking it up into fine particles. His rear ventral fin appears to be a kind of scriber, acting like a plow in that sequence. Certainly, he kicks up a cloud when he’s digging, and finer particles would settle on top. The bigger ones would work to the surface later (the ‘jar of nuts’ phenomenon).

They say he has to work 24 hours a day for a week, or the currents will destroy the pattern.

The pattern in the video doesn’t have a central ‘pie plate’. I guess that the partial lines on the ‘pie plate’ result from a kind of erasure. There’s a line for each of the outer divots. On this supposition, the long lines in the center were made last. He pushes from the outside in, so agitation from pushing with the tail doesn’t wipe out lines in the center.

There are 25 divots in the still image, 23 in the video, so that is not a constant.

···

On Sun, Jul 23, 2017 at 3:59 PM, Martin Taylor mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net wrote:

[Martin Taylor 2017.07.23.15.46]

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.1220)]

      RM: While watching some nature shows the other night I

thought it might be an interesting exercise to speculate about
what some of these animals are doing from a PCT perspective.
One particular behavior seemed particularly amazing; it’s the
nest building behavior of the male blowfish. What this little
dude does is build this intricate pattern in the sand
underwater. The pattern looks like this:

        RM: The fish creates this beautiful pattern by digging

these trenches with its nose and jaw. What’s amazing, of
course, is that the fish can’t see this visual pattern as it
is being created – though it is the visual pattern that
will attract the females. So the fish is creating this
visual pattern by controlling something other than a visual
perception. What do you think this perception could be? It
has to be a perception that, when controlled, results (as a
side effect) in this nice, round pattern in the sand with
the perfectly spaced radial channels from the circumference
to the inner ring – and the lovely lines on that inner
ring. I’m stumped but maybe we can come up with some
interesting hypotheses together. I think it might be nice to
do this with the aim of building a PCT simulation of the
nest-building behavior of the blowfish.

Fascinating! Did they show the nest being built? The order of events

might offer a clue. I find the central “pie plate” the most
difficult to guess about, because the rest could be a repetitive
pattern, but the nested V’s with the interpolated radial dashes
really isn’t, or rather, the repetition is complex and repeated by
whole quadrants if I saw it properly. Do you know whether the pie
plate came first, last, or in between? Is it built up or just
patterned pre-existing surface?

Incidentally, why do you say the fish can't see the pattern as it is

being created? Is it because the fish stays down shovelling until
the whole thing is finished? That would make it a bit like one of
these industrial robots that just repeat their bit of the car or the
circuit board so long as everything is in the right place. Does the
fish need calm water, or can it make the pattern despite a turbulent
flow to disturb its position control? I don’t expect you to know the
answers unless the program actually showed or told you, but they are
the sort of question I might ask if I were a researcher interested
in fish behaviour.

Fun, and thanks for showing it.



Martin

[Bruce Nevin (2017.07.23.16:47 ET)]

Another image, this one from a rather Fortean enumeration of golly gee phenomena (called phenomenons) at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx8GoSA3meY

They’re pleased to call this an underwater crop circle.

This one has 31 divots around the circumference and a much larger ‘pie plate’ with no discernible lines on it.

···

On Sun, Jul 23, 2017 at 4:29 PM, Bruce Nevin bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

[Bruce Nevin (2017.07.23.16:30 ET)]

As you both have said, the main clues will be in the activity, not in the resulting pattern. Here’s a view of the action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee3GIPoLe6c

They say he plows the sand, breaking it up into fine particles. His rear ventral fin appears to be a kind of scriber, acting like a plow in that sequence. Certainly, he kicks up a cloud when he’s digging, and finer particles would settle on top. The bigger ones would work to the surface later (the ‘jar of nuts’ phenomenon).

They say he has to work 24 hours a day for a week, or the currents will destroy the pattern.

The pattern in the video doesn’t have a central ‘pie plate’. I guess that the partial lines on the ‘pie plate’ result from a kind of erasure. There’s a line for each of the outer divots. On this supposition, the long lines in the center were made last. He pushes from the outside in, so agitation from pushing with the tail doesn’t wipe out lines in the center.

There are 25 divots in the still image, 23 in the video, so that is not a constant.

On Sun, Jul 23, 2017 at 3:59 PM, Martin Taylor mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net wrote:

[Martin Taylor 2017.07.23.15.46]

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.1220)]

      RM: While watching some nature shows the other night I

thought it might be an interesting exercise to speculate about
what some of these animals are doing from a PCT perspective.
One particular behavior seemed particularly amazing; it’s the
nest building behavior of the male blowfish. What this little
dude does is build this intricate pattern in the sand
underwater. The pattern looks like this:

        RM: The fish creates this beautiful pattern by digging

these trenches with its nose and jaw. What’s amazing, of
course, is that the fish can’t see this visual pattern as it
is being created – though it is the visual pattern that
will attract the females. So the fish is creating this
visual pattern by controlling something other than a visual
perception. What do you think this perception could be? It
has to be a perception that, when controlled, results (as a
side effect) in this nice, round pattern in the sand with
the perfectly spaced radial channels from the circumference
to the inner ring – and the lovely lines on that inner
ring. I’m stumped but maybe we can come up with some
interesting hypotheses together. I think it might be nice to
do this with the aim of building a PCT simulation of the
nest-building behavior of the blowfish.

Fascinating! Did they show the nest being built? The order of events

might offer a clue. I find the central “pie plate” the most
difficult to guess about, because the rest could be a repetitive
pattern, but the nested V’s with the interpolated radial dashes
really isn’t, or rather, the repetition is complex and repeated by
whole quadrants if I saw it properly. Do you know whether the pie
plate came first, last, or in between? Is it built up or just
patterned pre-existing surface?

Incidentally, why do you say the fish can't see the pattern as it is

being created? Is it because the fish stays down shovelling until
the whole thing is finished? That would make it a bit like one of
these industrial robots that just repeat their bit of the car or the
circuit board so long as everything is in the right place. Does the
fish need calm water, or can it make the pattern despite a turbulent
flow to disturb its position control? I don’t expect you to know the
answers unless the program actually showed or told you, but they are
the sort of question I might ask if I were a researcher interested
in fish behaviour.

Fun, and thanks for showing it.



Martin

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.1220)]

RM: While watching some nature shows the other night I thought it might be an interesting exercise to speculate about what some of these animals are doing from a PCT perspective. One particular behavior seemed particularly amazing; it’s the nest building behavior of the male blowfish. What this little dude does is build this intricate pattern in the sand underwater. The pattern looks like this:

Image result for blowfish nest

RM: The fish creates this beautiful pattern by digging these trenches with its nose and jaw. What’s amazing, of course, is that the fish can’t see this visual pattern as it is being created – though it is the visual pattern that will attract the females. So the fish is creating this visual pattern by controlling something other than a visual perception. What do you think this perception could be? It has to be a perception that, when controlled, results (as a side effect) in this nice, round pattern in the sand with the perfectly spaced radial channels from the circumference to the inner ring – and the lovely lines on that inner ring. I’m stumped but maybe we can come up with some interesting hypotheses together. I think it might be nice to do this with the aim of building a PCT simulation of the nest-building behavior of the blowfish.

Best

Rick

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 3:21 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Cc: Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com
Subject: Fish Do the Darndest Things

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Fred Nickols (2017.07.23.1814 ET)]

This is fascinating, Rick. As a line of thought, consider this: My dog has diabetes and, over time, it has led to him going blind. Yet, he knows his way around and can navigate quite successfully. As my Vet reminded me, he has many other senses available (e.g., smell, touch, hearing, taste and, of course, his memory). I wonder what we know about the sensory perceptions available to the blowfish. Perhaps they have what they need to do what they do.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 3:21 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Cc: Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com
Subject: Fish Do the Darndest Things

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.1220)]

RM: While watching some nature shows the other night I thought it might be an interesting exercise to speculate about what some of these animals are doing from a PCT perspective. One particular behavior seemed particularly amazing; it’s the nest building behavior of the male blowfish. What this little dude does is build this intricate pattern in the sand underwater. The pattern looks like this:

Image result for blowfish nest

RM: The fish creates this beautiful pattern by digging these trenches with its nose and jaw. What’s amazing, of course, is that the fish can’t see this visual pattern as it is being created – though it is the visual pattern that will attract the females. So the fish is creating this visual pattern by controlling something other than a visual perception. What do you think this perception could be? It has to be a perception that, when controlled, results (as a side effect) in this nice, round pattern in the sand with the perfectly spaced radial channels from the circumference to the inner ring – and the lovely lines on that inner ring. I’m stumped but maybe we can come up with some interesting hypotheses together. I think it might be nice to do this with the aim of building a PCT simulation of the nest-building behavior of the blowfish.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.07.23.15.46]

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.1220)]

      RM: While watching some nature shows the other night I

thought it might be an interesting exercise to speculate about
what some of these animals are doing from a PCT perspective.
One particular behavior seemed particularly amazing; it’s the
nest building behavior of the male blowfish. What this little
dude does is build this intricate pattern in the sand
underwater. The pattern looks like this:

        RM: The fish creates this beautiful pattern by digging

these trenches with its nose and jaw. What’s amazing, of
course, is that the fish can’t see this visual pattern as it
is being created – though it is the visual pattern that
will attract the females. So the fish is creating this
visual pattern by controlling something other than a visual
perception. What do you think this perception could be? It
has to be a perception that, when controlled, results (as a
side effect) in this nice, round pattern in the sand with
the perfectly spaced radial channels from the circumference
to the inner ring – and the lovely lines on that inner
ring. I’m stumped but maybe we can come up with some
interesting hypotheses together. I think it might be nice to
do this with the aim of building a PCT simulation of the
nest-building behavior of the blowfish.

Fascinating! Did they show the nest being built? The order of events

might offer a clue. I find the central “pie plate” the most
difficult to guess about, because the rest could be a repetitive
pattern, but the nested V’s with the interpolated radial dashes
really isn’t, or rather, the repetition is complex and repeated by
whole quadrants if I saw it properly. Do you know whether the pie
plate came first, last, or in between? Is it built up or just
patterned pre-existing surface?

Incidentally, why do you say the fish can't see the pattern as it is

being created? Is it because the fish stays down shovelling until
the whole thing is finished? That would make it a bit like one of
these industrial robots that just repeat their bit of the car or the
circuit board so long as everything is in the right place. Does the
fish need calm water, or can it make the pattern despite a turbulent
flow to disturb its position control? I don’t expect you to know the
answers unless the program actually showed or told you, but they are
the sort of question I might ask if I were a researcher interested
in fish behaviour.

Fun, and thanks for showing it.

Martin

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.1220)]

RM: While watching some nature shows the other night I thought it might be an interesting exercise to speculate about what some of these animals are doing from a PCT perspective. One particular behavior seemed particularly amazing; it’s the nest building behavior of the male blowfish. What this little dude does is build this intricate pattern in the sand underwater. The pattern looks like this:

Image result for blowfish nest

RM: The fish creates this beautiful pattern by digging these trenches with its nose and jaw. What’s amazing, of course, is that the fish can’t see this visual pattern as it is being created – though it is the visual pattern that will attract the females. So the fish is creating this visual pattern by controlling something other than a visual perception. What do you think this perception could be? It has to be a perception that, when controlled, results (as a side effect) in this nice, round pattern in the sand with the perfectly spaced radial channels from the circumference to the inner ring – and the lovely lines on that inner ring. I’m stumped but maybe we can come up with some interesting hypotheses together. I think it might be nice to do this with the aim of building a  PCT simulation of the nest-building behavior of the blowfish.Â

BestÂ

Rick

···

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.2205)]

···

Martin Taylor (2017.07.23.15.46)–

MT: Fascinating! Did they show the nest being built?

RM: Only brief segments, unfortunately, as you can see from the videos Bruce N. posted.

Â

MT: The order of events

might offer a clue.

RM: Yes, I would like to see the nest being built from scratch. It would be great if there were a time lapse video of it. But it’s apparently hard to get any video of the nest building at all!Â

Â

MT: I find the central "pie plate" the most

difficult to guess about, because the rest could be a repetitive
pattern,

RM: But a repetitive pattern of what? What perceptual variable, when controlled, would produce the concentric circles of sand mounds cut through by those radial trenches.Â

Â

MT: Incidentally, why do you say the fish can't see the pattern as it is

being created? Is it because the fish stays down shovelling until
the whole thing is finished?

RM: Yes, but I now can see from the video Bruce posted that the fish can certainly be controlling a visual variable while it’s making the trenches. And it does occasionally seem to swim up above the nest to see the status of the pattern. So it’s possible that the fish is controlling for the final visual form of the nest. But that seems to assume that the fish is controlling for some pretty complex perceptions, such as the relationship between the mental blueprint of the final form of the nest and the trench excavations that are the means of producing that final form.Â

RM: What I would like to figure out is whether there is some simple set of perceptions the fish could plausibly be controlling that, as a side effect, would produce that amazing nest pattern. Hints about what those perceptions might be would have to come from much more detailed observations of its nest building, particularly from the start of the nest building. But, as I said, I don’t think there is any video of the start of nest building. So I guess we’ll have to guess based on what we’ve got.Â

RM: One thing a video that starts from the beginning of the nest building would show is whether the fish starts by building the concentric mounds or the linear trenches through the mounds. It’s possible that the first thing to be built are the concentric mounds, which could be created by the fish controlling for a visual variable that is kept under control by circular movement that creates the mound as a side effect. Someone who is not non-trigonometrically challenged like me might be able to think of some optical variable that, when controlled, produces this result; for example, the controlled variable could be some optical angle relative to a landmark point – the future center of the concentric circles. Once the mounds are created the tranches could be created by control of another visual variable that, when controlled, results in movements that create straight trenches through the mounds.Â

MT: Does the

fish need calm water, or can it make the pattern despite a turbulent
flow to disturb its position control?

RM: In the show I saw it was clear that the fish had to maintain the nest in water that became quite turbulent due to a tropical storm; apparently such storms (and the attendant turbulence) are quite common in the ocean south of Japan where these fish live. So the nest is unquestionably a result of control of input, not pre-programmed output.

MT: I don't expect you to know the

answers unless the program actually showed or told you, but they are
the sort of question I might ask if I were a researcher interested
in fish behaviour.

RM: Good questions all but, as I said, I just can’t find the kind of videos of the fish in action – for example, videos of the fish starting the nest – that would help develop good hypotheses about the variables the fish is controlling. But I think it’s still a good exercise to try to come up with hypotheses about the perceptual variables the fish might be controlling in order to get a good feel for how PCT approaches an explanation of observed behavior.Â

Best regards

Rick

Â

Fun, and thanks for showing it.



Martin


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Probaby should start with the reference value the female fish is controlling for. Start with classic sexual selection and work backwards. Which type of pattern does the female select for mating. Puffers show large sexual dimorphism - so typically the females dont select for resource reasons but for genetic fitness (eg mane of a lion is maladaptive and the male lions cardo vas system needs yo be incredible to survive - hence good genes).Â
That the puffer has to work so hard to maintain the pattern suggests that yhe female is selevting for pattern cues which show genetic fitness. Based on that it is probably the size/ elaboration of the pattern and its symmetry/completeness.Â

 Cheers

       Sean

···

On 24 Jul. 2017 15:08, “Richard Marken” rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.2205)]

Martin Taylor (2017.07.23.15.46)–

MT: Fascinating! Did they show the nest being built?

RM: Only brief segments, unfortunately, as you can see from the videos Bruce N. posted.

Â

MT: The order of events

might offer a clue.

RM: Yes, I would like to see the nest being built from scratch. It would be great if there were a time lapse video of it. But it’s apparently hard to get any video of the nest building at all!Â

Â

MT: I find the central "pie plate" the most

difficult to guess about, because the rest could be a repetitive
pattern,

RM: But a repetitive pattern of what? What perceptual variable, when controlled, would produce the concentric circles of sand mounds cut through by those radial trenches.Â

Â

MT: Incidentally, why do you say the fish can't see the pattern as it is

being created? Is it because the fish stays down shovelling until
the whole thing is finished?

RM: Yes, but I now can see from the video Bruce posted that the fish can certainly be controlling a visual variable while it’s making the trenches. And it does occasionally seem to swim up above the nest to see the status of the pattern. So it’s possible that the fish is controlling for the final visual form of the nest. But that seems to assume that the fish is controlling for some pretty complex perceptions, such as the relationship between the mental blueprint of the final form of the nest and the trench excavations that are the means of producing that final form.Â

RM: What I would like to figure out is whether there is some simple set of perceptions the fish could plausibly be controlling that, as a side effect, would produce that amazing nest pattern. Hints about what those perceptions might be would have to come from much more detailed observations of its nest building, particularly from the start of the nest building. But, as I said, I don’t think there is any video of the start of nest building. So I guess we’ll have to guess based on what we’ve got.Â

RM: One thing a video that starts from the beginning of the nest building would show is whether the fish starts by building the concentric mounds or the linear trenches through the mounds. It’s possible that the first thing to be built are the concentric mounds, which could be created by the fish controlling for a visual variable that is kept under control by circular movement that creates the mound as a side effect. Someone who is not non-trigonometrically challenged like me might be able to think of some optical variable that, when controlled, produces this result; for example, the controlled variable could be some optical angle relative to a landmark point – the future center of the concentric circles. Once the mounds are created the tranches could be created by control of another visual variable that, when controlled, results in movements that create straight trenches through the mounds.Â

MT: Does the

fish need calm water, or can it make the pattern despite a turbulent
flow to disturb its position control?

RM: In the show I saw it was clear that the fish had to maintain the nest in water that became quite turbulent due to a tropical storm; apparently such storms (and the attendant turbulence) are quite common in the ocean south of Japan where these fish live. So the nest is unquestionably a result of control of input, not pre-programmed output.

MT: I don't expect you to know the

answers unless the program actually showed or told you, but they are
the sort of question I might ask if I were a researcher interested
in fish behaviour.

RM: Good questions all but, as I said, I just can’t find the kind of videos of the fish in action – for example, videos of the fish starting the nest – that would help develop good hypotheses about the variables the fish is controlling. But I think it’s still a good exercise to try to come up with hypotheses about the perceptual variables the fish might be controlling in order to get a good feel for how PCT approaches an explanation of observed behavior.Â

Best regards

Rick

Â

Fun, and thanks for showing it.



Martin


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.26.1820)]

···

On Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 5:58 PM, Sean Mulligan lack.of.inspiration@gmail.com wrote:

SM: Probaby should start with the reference value the female fish is controlling for.

RM: That’s certainly an interesting question, and I imagine the answer would be of particular interest to male blowfish. But I don’t think it would help us understand what perceptual variables the male blowfish is controlling which results in that intricate nest in the sand.Â

Â

SM: Start with classic sexual selection and work backwards. Which type of pattern does the female select for mating. Puffers show large sexual dimorphism - so typically the females dont select for resource reasons but for genetic fitness (eg mane of a lion is maladaptive and the male lions cardo vas system needs yo be incredible to survive - hence good genes).Â
That the puffer has to work so hard to maintain the pattern suggests that yhe female is selevting for pattern cues which show genetic fitness. Based on that it is probably the size/ elaboration of the pattern and its symmetry/completeness.Â

RM: I think that’s an interesting hypothesis about the variables a female is controlling for in a nest (size, symmetry) and the reference for those variables (large, perfect symmetry). I suppose a test would be to see whether females tend to nest in the larger, more perfectly symmetrical nests. Indeed, females should be fighting over the guys with the big nests. But I don’t think we have any data on the nest preferences of female blowfish.Â

RM: But I wanted to focus on the male’s nest building behavior because I think it’s a good exercise in “looking at behavior through control theory glasses”. The behavior we see, as an observer, is the fish producing a complex sequence of actions that involve burrowing through the sand in straight or curved paths, sometimes hovering over parts of the sand pattern to check things out. Looking at this behavior through control theory glasses involves trying to look at things from the fish’s perspective and trying to figure out what perceptions the fish could be controlling that would result in the beautiful circular sand pattern that is the nest-to-be.Â

RM: To some extent the fish can see the pattern that we see; it can see it when it hovers over its work. But the fish can’t see the pattern it’s creating while it’s doing the burrowing that creates that pattern. So what perceptions might the fish be controlling in order to produce, as a “side effect”, the ring of mounds and the straight burrows that cross through them? Of course, we need much more data to be able to tell with confidence what these perceptions are. One nice piece of data would have been obtained if the people filming the fish had surreptitiously flattened a portion of the outer ring of mounds. I know we’re not going to figure this out here but I was just hoping for some suggestions about possible controlled perceptions; as I said, just be coming up with such suggestions you will be looking at the behavior of the blowfish though control theory glasses.

RM: By the way, I have a demo on the net (http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Goose.html) that shows how looking at behavior through control theory glasses  – in this case the behavior of the greylag goose rolling it’s egg back into it’s nest – can radially change what we think an organism is “doing” (controlling). Through causal theory glasses the behavior of the goose looks like a “fixed action pattern”  – what we would now call a “motor program”. But looking at the goose’s behavior through control theory glasses – that is, looking at the goose’s behavior from the goose’s perspective – we see that that goose is controlling a perception of the pressure of the egg against the back of her bill.Â

Best

Rick

 Cheers

       Sean


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On 24 Jul. 2017 15:08, “Richard Marken” rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.07.23.2205)]

Martin Taylor (2017.07.23.15.46)–

MT: Fascinating! Did they show the nest being built?

RM: Only brief segments, unfortunately, as you can see from the videos Bruce N. posted.

Â

MT: The order of events

might offer a clue.

RM: Yes, I would like to see the nest being built from scratch. It would be great if there were a time lapse video of it. But it’s apparently hard to get any video of the nest building at all!Â

Â

MT: I find the central "pie plate" the most

difficult to guess about, because the rest could be a repetitive
pattern,

RM: But a repetitive pattern of what? What perceptual variable, when controlled, would produce the concentric circles of sand mounds cut through by those radial trenches.Â

Â

MT: Incidentally, why do you say the fish can't see the pattern as it is

being created? Is it because the fish stays down shovelling until
the whole thing is finished?

RM: Yes, but I now can see from the video Bruce posted that the fish can certainly be controlling a visual variable while it’s making the trenches. And it does occasionally seem to swim up above the nest to see the status of the pattern. So it’s possible that the fish is controlling for the final visual form of the nest. But that seems to assume that the fish is controlling for some pretty complex perceptions, such as the relationship between the mental blueprint of the final form of the nest and the trench excavations that are the means of producing that final form.Â

RM: What I would like to figure out is whether there is some simple set of perceptions the fish could plausibly be controlling that, as a side effect, would produce that amazing nest pattern. Hints about what those perceptions might be would have to come from much more detailed observations of its nest building, particularly from the start of the nest building. But, as I said, I don’t think there is any video of the start of nest building. So I guess we’ll have to guess based on what we’ve got.Â

RM: One thing a video that starts from the beginning of the nest building would show is whether the fish starts by building the concentric mounds or the linear trenches through the mounds. It’s possible that the first thing to be built are the concentric mounds, which could be created by the fish controlling for a visual variable that is kept under control by circular movement that creates the mound as a side effect. Someone who is not non-trigonometrically challenged like me might be able to think of some optical variable that, when controlled, produces this result; for example, the controlled variable could be some optical angle relative to a landmark point – the future center of the concentric circles. Once the mounds are created the tranches could be created by control of another visual variable that, when controlled, results in movements that create straight trenches through the mounds.Â

MT: Does the

fish need calm water, or can it make the pattern despite a turbulent
flow to disturb its position control?

RM: In the show I saw it was clear that the fish had to maintain the nest in water that became quite turbulent due to a tropical storm; apparently such storms (and the attendant turbulence) are quite common in the ocean south of Japan where these fish live. So the nest is unquestionably a result of control of input, not pre-programmed output.

MT: I don't expect you to know the

answers unless the program actually showed or told you, but they are
the sort of question I might ask if I were a researcher interested
in fish behaviour.

RM: Good questions all but, as I said, I just can’t find the kind of videos of the fish in action – for example, videos of the fish starting the nest – that would help develop good hypotheses about the variables the fish is controlling. But I think it’s still a good exercise to try to come up with hypotheses about the perceptual variables the fish might be controlling in order to get a good feel for how PCT approaches an explanation of observed behavior.Â

Best regards

Rick

Â

Fun, and thanks for showing it.



Martin


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery