The goldfish can develop a discerning ear for classical music, according to a new study.
Psychologists at Keio University in Tokyo trained goldfish to tug on a bead underwater when they recognized Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor or Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, the Daily Telegraph reports.
“Goldfish (Carassius auratus) are known as a hearing specialist species, since they have evolved a structure to enhance auditory signals detected by the inner ear,” says Sigeru Watanabe, the professor who supervised the research.
“This suggests that goldfish have evolved specific features for hearing and can recognize complex auditory stimuli similar to those recognized by modern vertebrates.”
The little fishies correctly distinguished Bach from Stravinsky about 75% of the time, according to the study published in the journal Behavioural Processes.
Which music did the fish prefer? In a separate study of a handful of goldfish, three didn’t show a preference, one was a big fan of Baroque and one a modernist.