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Who says we can't learn anything from videogames?
Scientists at Princeton University tested the survival tactics of fish through a simulation game with real predators and fake prey. By projecting fake prey on an aquarium, researchers tricked Bluegill Sunfish into thinking they were real, observing their reactions. Senior Researcher Iain Couzin told Princeton University, "Effectively, the bluegills were playing an immersive video game in which they hunted."
Researchers also got into the competitive spirit by gradually increasing the challenge. “By evolving the prey groupings, the game becomes harder and harder for the predators, as when a video game adapts to the strategy employed by the players,” Couzin says. “In a similar way, our prey ‘evolved’ to the mode of hunting that the bluegills exhibited, adapting better strategies that allowed them to evade hunting more effectively."
What were the results of this fish trickery? Group formation is vital for prey survival. The bluegills are not only less likely to attack if the simulated fish were in groups, but even if the prey were unaware of the predator, the predator still wouldn't attack. The moral of the story: Don't swim alone.
You can read more about the story at http://www.sciencemag.org. For now, check out the video below of the experiment.
Source: Princeton University
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.