Paper published in Animal Cognition

Having a particular 'side bias' is something that is seen in all animals, and it is known to have an impact on a number of different behavioural domains. Here, we used out Free Movement Pattern (FMP) Y maze test in zebrafish to determine laterality. We then examined how laterality affects other behavioural domains, including stress reactivity and learning. In our new paper, we found that the majority of fish were not strongly lateralised in their search patterns, but those that were lateralised showed increased fear in a learning protocol, but no increased anxiety in a novel enviornment, suggesting that they were more sensitive to fear-related cues rather than more stress sensitive per se. These data suggest that zebrafish might be a really useful model system for studying laterality, and more importantly, that when training zebrafish for research the researchers should be cognisant of the fishes' laterality bias, as this may impact on their learning performance. 

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