Tarantula Memory

Sean

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Do tarantula's have memortys like do they remember things or do there brains/minds dont work like that??? Im intrested to know if anyone does know
 

RugbyDave

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hey there

now for something ive been studying for a loooong time: the brain.

Now, who can really say.
and it depends on how youre using 'memory' --

like, do they remember where their burrow is? Probably? Is it from higher brain fxns? Probably not.. More likely due to small strands of silk and chemical "smell" -- (i use 'smell' very loosley

do they remember leaving the egg sac and maturing like we do? again, probably not..


its important to not get instinct and memory mixed up, you know. I did all my graduate and post graduate studies in Neuro-Coginitive disoders, with a large large focus on memory linkage. Now im in med school going for neurology....We studied memory on other species heavily (besides humans and chimps, by the way).

The first thing anyone should learn is that memory is a total-brain-function. There's not just ONE area of the brain specializing in memory. There are parts of the brain where memories are localized, but to recall a memory, there needs to be a large chain reaction of potassium (and a ton of other chemical messengers travelling between synapes and neuronal junctions) and ion channels opening up and closing in an exact replica of the original memory... that's put VERY VERY simply...

now the problem is, how do we get from potassium and ion channels to remembering what an orange smells like, or recalling the face a really cute girl (or boy) from 8th grade? :)

in order for all these things to be percieved by us, the human, our cerebral cortext (the 'grey matter' or outer cortex) needs to become a central meeting place. in other words, all the stimuli and information coming in from the thalamus and the rest of the brain eventually makes its way to the surface where it is deciphered and translated.

Where am i going with all of this?
well, tarantulas (and, consequently, NO other creatures) have cerebral cortexes. Well, monkeys do have a very basic cortex, but its not used in the same was as ours, and they can't speak since their anatomy doesn't resemble ours (they don't have a larynx or a set of vocal folds). Part of our evolution has been our ability to um, well, evolve a cerebral cortex. It is basically what gives us the ability to love, hate, dream, ideal, form opinions, etc. It's at the root of what really differentiates YOU from ME.... Without these bundles of myelinated axons and specialized nerves, none of our "human" natures would exist (speech, memory, cognition, racism, ideals and opinions and thoughts.....). This is a known fact. Chalk it up to pure evolution, a god, or whatever, but either way its fact :)

can animals be conditioned? a hardy YES!!!! can that be twisted to become emotions? Well, yes, some people do attach human emotions to animals.. there's nothing wrong with it.. we learn it from around age 1 ('symbolistic play', i believe Piaget termed it).. but it is important to remember that most spiders will never be tamed, unlike dogs.. Now who can say if we can ever change that...??? Hell, we've supposedly gone up to the freaking moon, right? =D

remember, we gave up instinct to get higher brain functions. T's retain instinct, but don't get the same brain as us :)

i hope this hasn't been confusing. I think it's pretty easy to understand.

let's keep this going.. T's are a large part of my life, and neurology is a deep deep love of mine.. :).. hell i've spent a long time studying and learning it! It'd be interesting to see what other people think!

peace
dave
 
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MrT

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I can't remember a thing you just said.:confused:
What?

Ernie


BTW, I'm just messing with ya.;)
 

Sean

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Originally posted by RugbyDave
hey there

now for something ive been studying for a loooong time: the brain.

Now, who can really say.
and it depends on how youre using 'memory' --

like, do they remember where their burrow is? Probably? Is it from higher brain fxns? Probably not.. More likely due to small strands of silk and chemical "smell" -- (i use 'smell' very loosley

do they remember leaving the egg sac and maturing like we do? again, probably not..


its important to not get instinct and memory mixed up, you know. I did all my graduate and post graduate studies in Neuro-Coginitive disoders, with a large large focus on memory linkage. Now im in med school going for neurology....We studied memory on other species heavily (besides humans and chimps, by the way).

The first thing anyone should learn is that memory is a total-brain-function. There's not just ONE area of the brain specializing in memory. There are parts of the brain where memories are localized, but to recall a memory, there needs to be a large chain reaction of potassium (and a ton of other chemical messengers travelling between synapes and neuronal junctions) and ion channels opening up and closing in an exact replica of the original memory... that's put VERY VERY simply...

now the problem is, how do we get from potassium and ion channels to remembering what an orange smells like, or recalling the face a really cute girl (or boy) from 8th grade? :)

in order for all these things to be percieved by us, the human, our cerebral cortext (the 'grey matter' or outer cortex) needs to become a central meeting place. in other words, all the stimuli and information coming in from the thalamus and the rest of the brain eventually makes its way to the surface where it is deciphered and translated.

Where am i going with all of this?
well, tarantulas (and, consequently, NO other creatures) have cerebral cortexes. Well, monkeys do have a very basic cortex, but its not used in the same was as ours, and they can't speak since their anatomy doesn't resemble ours (they don't have a larynx or a set of vocal folds). Part of our evolution has been our ability to um, well, evolve a cerebral cortex. It is basically what gives us the ability to love, hate, dream, ideal, form opinions, etc. It's at the root of what really differentiates YOU from ME.... Without these bundles of myelinated axons and specialized nerves, none of our "human" natures would exist (speech, memory, cognition, racism, ideals and opinions and thoughts.....). This is a known fact. Chalk it up to pure evolution, a god, or whatever, but either way its fact :)

can animals be conditioned? a hardy YES!!!! can that be twisted to become emotions? Well, yes, some people do attach human emotions to animals.. there's nothing wrong with it.. we learn it from around age 1 ('symbolistic play', i believe Piaget termed it).. but it is important to remember that most spiders will never be tamed, unlike dogs.. Now who can say if we can ever change that...??? Hell, we've supposedly gone up to the freaking moon, right? =D

remember, we gave up instinct to get higher brain functions. T's retain instinct, but don't get the same brain as us :)

i hope this hasn't been confusing. I think it's pretty easy to understand.

let's keep this going.. T's are a large part of my life, and neurology is a deep deep love of mine.. :).. hell i've spent a long time studying and learning it! It'd be interesting to see what other people think!

peace
dave
Thats very intresting dave, i figure they would know where the burrow is thats instinct, but say i bought an usambara yesterday and at the pet store the guy had a hard time getting her out, and completely destroyed her burrow and pissed the thing off it was biting at the tongs and hissing and everything else, could it possible remember a stresful experience like that or no?
 

Code Monkey

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A simpler answer to the question is yes, but not for long. I've both seen myself, as well as read many reports from other T owners, that show they form associations with various stimuli. So long as that stimuli/associated result is reinforced every week or two the T will remember. However, let the reinforcement not be there for a few weeks and the memory goes away.

It's probably a primitive form of memory formed by the strengthening of particular nerve pathways in their cognitive portions of their nervous system. So long as whatever it is they're remembering keeps up frequently, the pathway remains reinforced and is remembered. But as soon as the regular stimuli stops, the pathways lose their boosting and return to a normal state.
 

Sean

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Originally posted by Code Monkey
A simpler answer to the question is yes, but not for long. I've both seen myself, as well as read many reports from other T owners, that show they form associations with various stimuli. So long as that stimuli/associated result is reinforced every week or two the T will remember. However, let the reinforcement not be there for a few weeks and the memory goes away.

It's probably a primitive form of memory formed by the strengthening of particular nerve pathways in their cognitive portions of their nervous system. So long as whatever it is they're remembering keeps up frequently, the pathway remains reinforced and is remembered. But as soon as the regular stimuli stops, the pathways lose their boosting and return to a normal state.
So if i understand correctly your theory is the only way they could remember something if it continued to happen over and over again??? Makes since, so something that happend 6 months ago was a one time thing the T wouldnt remember, im sorry if i seem stupid i just find it intresting
 

RugbyDave

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Originally posted by Code Monkey
It's probably a primitive form of memory formed by the strengthening of particular nerve pathways in their cognitive portions of their nervous system. So long as whatever it is they're remembering keeps up frequently, the pathway remains reinforced and is remembered
I did say that alot of people note that animals can be conditioned, but as for T's, the conditioning won't stay. I'm going to say this, that I don't think you could 'train' a T to walk onto a button to get a 'treat' of a cricket, as we can do with pigeons and mice (and, i just saw in the lab that they're doing this with FROGS!!! thats pretty cool!)

EVERYTHING will repsond to stimuli, but that DOESN'T translate to memory. Hell, if you push a saftey pin into any animal, it will respond. With humans, its pain and hitting and screaming, and with an ant, its something as simple as noiciceptors firing off with some basic response (is it pain? Im not sure, im not an entomologist studying pain reception).. and even with amoebas, they will undulate away. ANY time ANY stimulus is given, a response is shown. The responses, however, do differ.

See, i would not classify that as memory. I would classify that more as a primitive form of 'conditioning' if you want, but even more so, its just bascially a respnse to a stimulus.

and there are no 'cognitive' portions of the nervous system in T's. Cognition is something uniquely human. Well, at the same time, WHO REALLY KNOWS IF T'S DREAM, but based on what we know of brains from ants to humans, cognition is something uniquely human.

in order for "cognition" to happen, there has to be a higher cerebral cortex, which T's don't have. It also comes down to a matter of space... thats why human brains are SO convoluted -- you can fit 3X the amount of brain in our heads that way!!

See, what you have to remember is that most of the "non-cognitive animals" (everything non-human) have devoted 100% of their brains to aligning with their instincts. The cerebral cortex is something unique to humans.

If you ever study neurology you'll learn all of this. It's actually quite interesting (opinion of course :) )...

but in order to have ANY form of memory ('primitive' or not) there needs to be a central relay station... humans are the only 'things' on this planet that has evolved the cerebral cortex to do that... thats why we can speak and dream and hate and want and wish and jones and beg and have opinions and be moved by colours and smells... consequently, it also allows us to form and remember memories.

its like saying as long as you keep giving a machine power, it will work, but as soon as you stop applying power, the machine stops working...

is it a working machine? well, yes as long as the initial stimuli is applied. But once that stimuli is pulled away, the machine just sits there.. So if there's no stimulus, is it a working machine? It all depends on your viewpoint i suppose...

wow, thats confusing even to me. :)

in liberal and conservative neurological - terms, i wouldn't classify that as 'primitive memory'. I would classify that as simple response. As long as you keep hitting me, i'll keep getting mad, you know :) as soon as you stop, we're cool. I have no reason to get mad as long as you refrain from hitting me, you know :)

i hope this clears up alot.

i've only spent 5 years studying this, and am in no-way a Neuro- guru.. well not yet :)

Also sean, uh, i think thats just the T getting mighty pissed at having to be moved from its burrow.. How angry would you be if you took some time to make yourself a nice little comfortable place to hang out (your room, lets say) and something just came out of no-where and and ruined it and took you out -- you'd be mighty angry..
The only difference is, the neural pathways in the T brain don't do the same things as in humans.. its only response would be ANGER, NOW! in 8 years, i don't think it would remember. It would still get angry if it happened again, or something, and the difference is, you, as a human, could form a memory,and possibly try to build your room of steel next time (man, i'm really striking out with examples today huh?). My brain is not working too well now, so i hope that kind of answers your question. I'll come back tonite and redo it :) but it works for now! =D

What it comes down to is a simple maxim: You need to have the right tools to do the job. If you don't have a brain wired with the memory-software, no matter what you do, you can't get a memory-response. Make better sense?

Next time im in the lab (a month?), I'll swing by the entomology dept at the U. They have about 45,000 specimens ( i believe) and i will dig through trying to find any research about this! T's don't need memory. Ameoba's don't need memory. Scorps don't need memory. They need instinct and food and sex. They dont need to idealise about corvettes vs. porches. They don't need to realise the negativity about the KKK. They don't need to worry about politics and hatred. They don't need to retain that information. All the information they need, they are pretty much born with. Its called instinct, and, as we evolve, we lost most instinct. We still do, however, retain that basic, limbic, mammilian part of our brain that focuses on the 3 S's and 1 F - Satisfaction, Sex, S*itting and Food :) That's literally how its written in the neurology books :) We do have that in common :) Man i could keep going, but im stopping

thats a real interesting question you asked, man!
peace
dave
 
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Code Monkey

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Dave, you can have your silly ideas that we're the only things that dream or have memory, I'll watch my dog clearly dream, and even Ts and cockroaches have memory. And dolphins, not even remotely close to primates, learn that a reflection in a mirror is them even faster than humans, which is indicative that they have an even more advanced abstract concept of self than even us.

So, either your neurology prof was a quack, or you weren't paying attention. Either way, you can type even more than me in defense of "humans are unique" or you can realise what most of the biology profs I have worked with know: humans aren't all that special by a long shot.
 

Sean

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Originally posted by RugbyDave
I did say that alot of people note that animals can be conditioned, but as for T's, the conditioning won't stay. I'm going to say this, that I don't think you could 'train' a T to walk onto a button to get a 'treat' of a cricket, as we can do with pigeons and mice (and, i just saw in the lab that they're doing this with FROGS!!! thats pretty cool!)

EVERYTHING will repsond to stimuli, but that DOESN'T translate to memory. Hell, if you push a saftey pin into any animal, it will respond. With humans, its pain and hitting and screaming, and with an ant, its something as simple as noiciceptors firing off with some basic response (is it pain? Im not sure, im not an entomologist studying pain reception).. and even with amoebas, they will undulate away. ANY time ANY stimulus is given, a response is shown. The responses, however, do differ.

See, i would not classify that as memory. I would classify that more as a primitive form of 'conditioning' if you want, but even more so, its just bascially a respnse to a stimulus.

and there are no 'cognitive' portions of the nervous system in T's. Cognition is something uniquely human. Well, at the same time, WHO REALLY KNOWS IF T'S DREAM, but based on what we know of brains from ants to humans, cognition is something uniquely human.

in order for "cognition" to happen, there has to be a higher cerebral cortex, which T's don't have. It also comes down to a matter of space... thats why human brains are SO convoluted -- you can fit 3X the amount of brain in our heads that way!!

See, what you have to remember is that most of the "non-cognitive animals" (everything non-human) have devoted 100% of their brains to aligning with their instincts. The cerebral cortex is something unique to humans.

If you ever study neurology you'll learn all of this. It's actually quite interesting (opinion of course :) )...

but in order to have ANY form of memory ('primitive' or not) there needs to be a central relay station... humans are the only 'things' on this planet that has evolved the cerebral cortex to do that... thats why we can speak and dream and hate and want and wish and jones and beg and have opinions and be moved by colours and smells... consequently, it also allows us to form and remember memories.

its like saying as long as you keep giving a machine power, it will work, but as soon as you stop applying power, the machine stops working...

is it a working machine? well, yes as long as the initial stimuli is applied. But once that stimuli is pulled away, the machine just sits there.. So if there's no stimulus, is it a working machine? It all depends on your viewpoint i suppose...

wow, thats confusing even to me. :)

in liberal and conservative neurological - terms, i wouldn't classify that as 'primitive memory'. I would classify that as simple response. As long as you keep hitting me, i'll keep getting mad, you know :) as soon as you stop, we're cool. I have no reason to get mad as long as you refrain from hitting me, you know :)

i hope this clears up alot.

i've only spent 5 years studying this, and am in no-way a Neuro- guru.. well not yet :)

Also sean, uh, i think thats just the T getting mighty pissed at having to be moved from its burrow.. How angry would you be if you took some time to make yourself a nice little comfortable place to hang out (your room, lets say) and something just came out of no-where and and ruined it and took you out -- you'd be mighty angry..
The only difference is, the neural pathways in the T brain don't do the same things as in humans.. its only response would be ANGER, NOW! in 8 years, i don't think it would remember. It would still get angry if it happened again, or something, and the difference is, you, as a human, could form a memory,and possibly try to build your room of steel next time (man, i'm really striking out with examples today huh?). My brain is not working too well now, so i hope that kind of answers your question. I'll come back tonite and redo it :) but it works for now! =D

What it comes down to is a simple maxim: You need to have the right tools to do the job. If you don't have a brain wired with the memory-software, no matter what you do, you can't get a memory-response. Make better sense?

Next time im in the lab (a month?), I'll swing by the entomology dept at the U. They have about 45,000 specimens ( i believe) and i will dig through trying to find any research about this! T's don't need memory. Ameoba's don't need memory. Scorps don't need memory. They need instinct and food and sex. They dont need to idealise about corvettes vs. porches. They don't need to realise the negativity about the KKK. They don't need to worry about politics and hatred. They don't need to retain that information. All the information they need, they are pretty much born with. Its called instinct, and, as we evolve, we lost most instinct. We still do, however, retain that basic, limbic, mammilian part of our brain that focuses on the 3 S's and 1 F - Satisfaction, Sex, S*itting and Food :) That's literally how its written in the neurology books :) We do have that in common :) Man i could keep going, but im stopping

thats a real interesting question you asked, man!
peace
dave
Well thanks i asked it cuz i was intrested in knowing how the T brain works, and reading your posts makes me more and more intrested in this topic
 

RugbyDave

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whoa, no need to get defensive buddy :)

thats the whole point -- everyone's got opinions.. thats why i peppered my posts with ("personally" and "i think") -- man, calm down!

dreaming isn't something i'm getting into. we're talking memory.
and memory needs higher brain functions.. T's don't have that.. my opinion (actually, my opinion on a fact)..

We're not talking about dogs or monkeys, my friend. I was responding to a T question.

and humans ARE unique in speech and ideals and opinions and cognition and memory.

and regardless of how you feel, im down with your opinion. Thats what makes the world so colourfull man -- everyone's different opinions. I love hearing other people's ideas and opinions -- it helps you to learn about other views, man....

and unfortunately ( no need to get personal bud)i have to say this, but i highly doubt that the neuro professors at Mass General/ Boston University or the Mayo clinic are quacks.if so, we're all screwed :) And i don't think they accept people into split MD/PhD programs who don't pay attention... at least i hope not... =D

no need to call my ideas silly. I never said that about yours. I just (continually) posted what I THINK and MY OPINIONS. hell, thats why i kept typing that in my post. i too, think dogs dream! But thats not what were focusing on... =D ;P those are all separate things from MEMORY...

and abstract self ideas don't equal MEMORY -- thats what this post is all about! In fact, i agree with you on most of what you said, but not T memory :) We're talking MEMORY.. i never said anything else about dogs not dreaming or dolphins not having high brain functions...

no need to be so defensive. we all have different views. And, again, to clarify, i wasn't talking about dogs and monkeys.. just T's... and god, i'd hate to see what youd say to my thoughts on religion! Geez :)

and if theres one thing i thought i made painfully clear its that i never humans are SPECIAL.. i said they were unique in certain capacities like speech and idealisng and racism and hatred -- go back and recheck it out and youre still not sure.. if you care.. anyways :)

later
dave
 
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RugbyDave

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hey sean

glad the post interested you! When you really study this instead of just wondering this and making your own conjectures, its actually really interesting what T's and insects are capable of!!!

glad this made you interested buddy!
I'll be looking down at the entomology dept soon to find some cool research!

later
dave
 

belewfripp

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Just a couple of things I wanted to mention...

First, when you think about it, most memories are caused by a stimulus, whether it is smelling a certain smell which then causes you to remember something that happened and was somehow associated with it or the actual conscious act of trying to recall a memory. In the latter case, you are deliberately 'telling' your brain "brain, recreate what happened at x time when I was y years old" and, hopefully, it does.


Second, how do WE remember our way home? We become familiarised with the way things look when going in certain sequences of direction from one place to another. Sure, we may say "ok, if I take I-75 to Henley St, and then make a left...etc" but this doesn't translate into 'knowing' until we've seen it out for ourselves anymore than reading about getting bit by a Pokie vs. actually experiencing it. I know where I live based on visually recognising the way, and if you totally rearranged the street layout, surrounding buildings, added intersections here and there and removed some others, I wouldn't know my way back home (barring the use of a GPS unit) any better than a tarantula without a dragline.


It has also been shown that Salticids (jumping spiders) are capable of retaining the memory of what happened on a failed jump after prey and correcting for mistakes they made when they go to try it again. I also find it difficult to believe that spiders with such great eyesight wouldn't visually recall other details. Now, they have less 'storage space' to work with, so will they remember that jump months from now? don't know for sure, but odds are no. It has also been shown, I think in a species of flower spider, that spiders can and do show prey preferences, and some will pass on certain items, while others will chow right down. All of us have seen this with our tarantulas, I'm sure. I have Ts of the same species, some of whom will eat dead prey, others who won't; I have an H. gigas who happily munches hissing cockroaches while my other will have absolutely nothing to do with them. Tarantulas may be 'basic' animals by certain standards, but they aren't automatons. Much of their lives is in the domain of instinct, but they have a limited degree of free expression as well.


If this weren't the case, then how come some days you can introduce your hand for a handling session to a particular spider and have no problem but the next day do the exact same thing and get a face full of urticating hair? By the same token though, they can be "trained" in a limited sense. Raise up a goliath birdeater from a baby and handle it regularly. I have done this, and have to say, although I have no scientific information to back me up on what is going on in its little tarantula brain, the fact is it's used to me. And I believe that were someone other than me to go and pick her up, she wouldn't buy it. I don't know if people have different smells that more chemoreceptive animals like Ts can distinguish between or what, and I'm not trying to make a case for higher brain functions in invertebrates -- she almost certainly doesn't know what I am, or understand my motivation for picking her up, but there is a degree of recognition there.


Another anecdote, this time an A. seemanni that once, when tapped on the butt, did a 180 and was a fraction of a second from driving her fangs into my finger, pedipalps around my finger and everything and Oops, the spider stops, pauses, then backs up and resumes normal sitting posture. Not only did the spider recognise I was not prey but more significantly it came to the conclusion that I'm not a threat, either. So, to the spider, what was I? Probably 'that big smelly thing that pokes around in here once a week'.


I'll also add that although I agree with the basic gist of what CM is saying, in my experience it takes longer than a week for the 'conditioned memory' to wear off in some cases. The blondi I mentioned above I sometimes now don't handle for 2-3 weeks. You know, I'm going to test something. I have a lot of fat-bellied, NW tarantulas with slow metabolisms, and I've conditioned my Ts to know that when an object hurtles in from above, its food. I'm going to deprive some of them of food for a month and then see if they still react the same. Not being conducted under strict scientific procedures, but I'll continue to feed some of the same species as a crude control group and see what happens.


If nothing else, this is an interesting topic to discuss.

Adrian
 

RugbyDave

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i agree adrian, but you must remember, at any rate, in any case, Jumping is instinct to a jumping spider.. not memory..!!!

and i agree with you too!!! how come one day you can get tagged by a blondi, and the next day it won't even move a hair while resting on my hand? There is no memory of my hand being an agitator.. its just like somedays youre in the mood and your not in the mood..

i feel like we're getting the concept of MEMORY confused with conditioning, responses and instinct..

and they're not.

and if you don't know, there's always room to learn, right? Here's the facts: memory is a full brain process translated by the cerebral cortex..

and the fact is, T's dont have cerebral cortexes. :)

I agree that to an extant T's can be "trained", but let's try some experiments then!!!! Seriously! The higher up you go, the more "trained" an animal can become, since they can account for more and more information retention thats not basic instinct ("BAD DOG, DON"T CHEW THE RUG") -- eventually, if the habits are correct, and the dog "learns", it knows not to chew the rug.

but, we've all seen it when we come home sometimes.
And even if that dog NEVER chews a rug again, its because its learned the punishment.. .now, yes, we can constitute that as memory, but its more a learned response after a conditioned stimuli.

again, i think we're getting the concept of MEMORY confused! No, i know we are :)

and you can't have memories untill you actually have the information to store one. To use your example, if you dont mind adrian, you can't have a memory of you being tagged by a pokie untill it happens. Thats very true. But thats all it is! And once it happens, you can store that information and remember it.

T's don't, in my opinion (and most of taught neurology).

let's try some experiments then! The thing is, you'll never EVER know if a T truly has memory retention!!

And thats what people need to realise.. i'm not all rooted in science -- a good piece of advice was given to me a while back, and i've kept it up front ever since:

you have to be open to your own fallability. (the general you of course)

in other words, we could have it TOTALLY wrong, and we have to be open to that fact.

T's may be fully able of retaining memories,and some peoples "god" may not exist, and all that crap, you know..

so it stands that we know one thing on this case:
we'll never truly know =D

It is my opinion, only based on my versions of facts, experiments, and common sense (anatomy and physiology) that they can't retain memories. If so, i think they'd be alot different animals.

these animals are just reacting to stimuli and its different EACH time..

and to prove my point, guys:

show me that I remember myfirst house.. You can't find ANY discernable way to prove that something can have a memory..

now, we all know most humans are capable of memories..

its interesting when you can't form memories. 2 of my patients have Short-Term Memory Loss.. In other words, they can't form any new memories...

and its amazing how hard that can affect your life! They can remember everything pretty much up to the accident, but every day we go in, its "hi doctor, Im XXX, have we met"

kind of off topic, but crazy nonetheless...

we're working in the memory lab to figure out if they actually really can form new memories and its just some darwinian cover-up response..

and whether you want to believe it or not, we are DEF. bounded by our anatomy and physiology.

we can't fly.. we can't drink water.. we cant mash up crickets with our pedipalpds..

we just dont have the tools we need! The brain is a very unknown organ, and its very misunderstood in the mainstream...

once you start to actually learn the beauty of the brain, you become more and more amazed at how astounding our lives really are. Hell you don't even have to study them to realise that! i knew that before i even started the doctorate studies!!!

And adrian, as for 'food hurtling from above" -- it comes down to instinct, yet again.. they sense its food. Try this -- to show its the food they'll respond with (by starting to eat it), drop a chopstick in the tank from above, and let me know how long it takes to finish eating it.. They will eat food when its there.. that's not much of an experiment.. You wouldnt be testing anything that we don't already know. What we have to realise is there is NO definitive way to prove that something can remember!

we're all together on that I know =D! Cos if you can prove that, then i'd love to see your proofs on religion and how wrong a lot of people are =D.. and i'd be interested in your piece of property on the lake....... (just joshing you of course!)

imjust giving you a hard time, dont worry. And again, for the record, i don't ever remember saying T's were simple or automatons, nor did i ever insinuate it! Remember, we're all on this board for our love of these creatures!

whether we want to idealise it or not, alot of this IS rooted in science fact. I'd love to be able to think in 3 dimensions, but we cant. Id love to see in 4 dimensions, but i can't! There's just SOME basic level of science fact that governs neurology! We are bounded by our anatomies sometimes.. and the physiology of our bodies... theres just some things we need bigger brains to do (speech and cognition for example)...

Its been a large science for many many many years, and we've been studying brains for a long time.. Please give us that :) We may not even know 2% of anything, but its 2% more than we knew 20 years ago, right?

and T's can't for memories =D ;P

but thats what opinions are for, right.


no anger, no defensiveness, just (and i agree with adrian) a really interesting topic! I love seeing everyone's opinions!!! Its so damn cool! Off to listen to more mitch hedberg!

as it stands, i love these guys whether they can retain memories or not :)

man, we've got some mighty fine ideas on this board! (i'm serious!!)

later
dave!
 
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jesses

Arachnobaron
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Apr 26, 2003
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Originally posted by Code Monkey


It's probably a primitive form of memory formed by the strengthening of particular nerve pathways in their cognitive portions of their nervous system. So long as whatever it is they're remembering keeps up frequently, the pathway remains reinforced and is remembered. But as soon as the regular stimuli stops, the pathways lose their boosting and return to a normal state.
Huh? I forgot how to do Calculus 5 minutes after the final exam was over, so who you calling primitive? ;P
 

belewfripp

Arachnobaron
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i agree adrian, but you must remember, at any rate, in any case, Jumping is instinct to a jumping spider.. not memory..!!![\B]

The studies in question were not meant to demonstrate that salticids remember how to jump, but rather that they remember specifically the details of the exact jump that they just made that resulted in not catching what they had hoped to catch. That is not instinct, that is memory.


and i agree with you too!!! how come one day you can get tagged by a blondi, and the next day it won't even move a hair while resting on my hand? There is no memory of my hand being an agitator.. its just like somedays youre in the mood and your not in the mood..

Or, alternatively, it remembers that yesterday nothing of actual consequence came of being bugged by you, so today it does nothing. Also, alternatively, the memory of the prior occurrence is not the foremost aspect of such an encounter every time it happens, i.e. it recognises you as probably not being a threat but it isn't in the mood to be bugged, so it reacts defensively to get you to go away.

i feel like we're getting the concept of MEMORY confused with conditioning, responses and instinct..

Part of why you feel that way is likely due to the fact that my post did not deal exclusively with memory, but I would like to add that, as I said before, every time you recollect something, it is a stimulus-response situation, whether an external factor causes you to remember or you deliberately make the attempt to do so.

and they're not.

and if you don't know, there's always room to learn, right? Here's the facts: memory is a full brain process translated by the cerebral cortex..

and the fact is, T's dont have cerebral cortexes. :)


Neither do salticids, but if they can remember, and they can, then it seems that memory is not exclusively the domain of the cerebral cortex, or rather, that in humans, this may be the linchpin of our ability to remember, and remember well, but in other animals, perhaps the memory powers are more deficient, but exist due to reasons beyond the existence, or lack, of a cerebral cortex. I would extimate that at least 10 times the effort and time has been put into understanding the human brain than any other type of brain or neural ganglion mass in other animals. We may be rather sure of how memory works for us, but without the same level of study and knowledge on other brains it seems unwise to draw a conclusion about another creatures capabilities based on a simple 'we have it, they don't' distinction.


I agree that to an extant T's can be "trained", but let's try some experiments then!!!! Seriously! The higher up you go, the more "trained" an animal can become, since they can account for more and more information retention thats not basic instinct ("BAD DOG, DON"T CHEW THE RUG") -- eventually, if the habits are correct, and the dog "learns", it knows not to chew the rug.

I think that's a false dichotomy. As I noted in my post, knowing where you live and how to get there, as well as driving a car, riding a bike, baking a souffle, whatever, these, according to your definition, are not things we remember, and are not true learning, they are simply the result of repetition and conditioning. Can a tarantula recall a particular day in its life from five years ago or something? Honestly I don't know, but I doubt it. That is something people can do that spiders probably can't. But as stated before, so much of memory is stimulus-response and conditioning, even in people. For me, if you remember something, I don't care how, that's memory. And especially, if a creature is responding to something in a particular way through the utilisation of previously acquired information, that is using memory.

again, i think we're getting the concept of MEMORY confused! No, i know we are :)

...But thats all it is! And once it happens, you can store that information and remember it.

T's don't, in my opinion (and most of taught neurology).


Then why do spiders that I purchase, that do not have an exaggerated feeding response, or who at first seem confused when a cricket comes hurtling at it at high velocity, eventually begin pouncing on the hurled crickets before they even hit the ground? You can call it conditioning if you want, but look at the example you give above. I get bit by a pokie, I store the information, I remember it. This is exactly what is going on in the example I just used - something happens, they store the information, and not only do they remember it, they use that memory as applied to actual behavior in a situation, just like I would in, say, staying the hell away from pokies.

Admittedly, for a tarantula this takes repetition but Ts also admittedly have less complicated brains than people and less storage space. Reinforcement does not preclude it from being memory. Tarantulas, perhaps, cannot recall during their daily business that high-speed projectiles are food, but when it happens, it triggers the memory, the same way hearing a particular piece of music might do for us. We can call it up anytime (although honestly, if we can, why don't we more often? Answer, because memories are usually things we bring up for a purpose, just like a T killing or recognising prey; whether it be for the purpose of entertaining someone with a humorous story, or reminding ourselves of some sad moment, or simply trying to remember our password to this board, we use memories, just like all the examples you have given of "conditioning") but just because an animal can't or doesn't seem to be able to call memories up at will doesn't mean that when it is stimulated to remember that it is no longer memory.

so it stands that we know one thing on this case:
we'll never truly know =D


Here's the thing though; while I realise this is your acknowledgement that the world is uncertain and you could be wrong, which I respect and appreciate, because I acknowledge the same about where I'm coming from, the fact is that if we're going to take the whole 'we'll never really know' point-of-view, we might as well stop talking now, because it invalidates the worth of the discussion. The fact that we are discussing this requires that we've already made the assumption that we can discover if something is true or not. If we hadn't, we wouldn't be talking about it.


and whether you want to believe it or not, we are DEF. bounded by our anatomy and physiology.

Not a point I was making, if you think that's where I'm going with this, you are incorrect.

we can't fly.. we can't drink water.. we cant mash up crickets with our pedipalpds..

we just dont have the tools we need! The brain is a very unknown organ, and its very misunderstood in the mainstream...


Well, we can drink water, but as for mashing up food, no we don't have pedipalps, but we can mash up crickets if we want to, with our hands. The exact tools aren't there, but something analogous is, it may not do the job quite as well, and have limitations that the other animals' tool doesn't, but it still does it. You ignore the possibility of analogues; how do you know that other animals don't have a similar part of their neural network that allows memory, but more limited in scope and without all the other bells and whistles that our cerebral cortex offers?


And adrian, as for 'food hurtling from above" -- it comes down to instinct, yet again.. they sense its food. Try this -- to show its the food they'll respond with (by starting to eat it), drop a chopstick in the tank from above, and let me know how long it takes to finish eating it.. They will eat food when its there.. that's not much of an experiment.. You wouldnt be testing anything that we don't already know.


Then why did they not always do this? You're absolutely right that they are sensing it is food, but they are not sensing it directly, in effect smelling the 'cricket-ness' about it, they detect that it is food because it is being chucked in from above, a situation or condition that they remember having been food from prior occurrences. It's like if someone sends me a package, and I open it up, and inside is a box full of candy, my reaction is going to be to eat it, right, because it's candy? But if this happens 4 or 5 more times, and the package always has a certain character to it, pretty soon I'm responding to the package as food, and immediately opening it up to get at the candy. It's like a giveaway, something that alerts you to the nature of something before you are able to actually assess the nature of that something and react to its properties directly.

What we have to realise is there is NO definitive way to prove that something can remember!

No, but we can fail to disprove it.


we're all together on that I know =D! Cos if you can prove that, then i'd love to see your proofs on religion and how wrong a lot of people are =D.. and i'd be interested in your piece of property on the lake....... (just joshing you of course!)

Good, I have a bridge, too, its a package deal.

Its been a large science for many many many years, and we've been studying brains for a long time.. Please give us that :) We may not even know 2% of anything, but its 2% more than we knew 20 years ago, right?

Absolutely, brain study has come a long way, and I'm not meaning to suggest that legions of professors and textbooks are fools. I do mean to suggest that what you take as axiomatic may not be so.

and T's can't for memories =D ;P

Maybe not HUMAN memories, but then human beings are not the codex for the definition of the universe. Just because something experiences a different KIND of something or has less of it than people have, does not make it any less so.


no anger, no defensiveness

Agreed.

later
dave!



Adrian
 

RugbyDave

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belewfripp wrote: "Well, we can drink water, but as for mashing up food, no we don't have pedipalps, but we can mash up crickets if we want to, with our hands." (thats my horrible attempt at trying to quote you, sorry man :) )

exactly!!!! and thats the point of higher brain function -- you take a T's chelicerae away, and i doubt it will use what it has around it (cork bark, water bowls, half hides etc) to be able to find a way to eat.

we, with our brains, can use tools to our advantage...
i don't think T's can. But thats my opinion and i respect yours my friend :)

if you happen to ever get a T that has no chelicerae, leave food in there, and see what it can use (like you said, we can use our hands to mash the crickets up) to eat - i highly doubt you'll come back in to find it mashing up crickets with its other legs and fiding some way of getting nourishment. Thats the thing, i think many animals can learn to use other things for their needs (as in your example), but not in the way that, humans and dolphins and monkeys and anteaters, and whatever can.. its just, to me, a factor of evolution and brain size (and sheer Body Anatomy! You can't fly if you don't have wings! You can't pick up a tool if you dont have hand or legs or curling digits! So why would the brain and body evolve to that if you don't have the capacity.. thats like saying "yes, i can fly, i just don't have the wings yet" ;P).. we just have the capcity to learn.. this is why Ts dont talk and dont cognate and don't have political ralleys. again, in my opinion!

animals (including us) are simply limited by our own anatomy and physiology.. thats why some plants can "drink" salt water and the rest die in salt water...

you think they have memories ( i think you do?) and i don't.
plain and simple! No big deal :) i always love learning other people's views!

its very interesting to see other people's views.. you can actually see deeper into their views and opinions.. very interesting to me to actually try and SEE where my fellow board members are coming from.

and i hate to say, but you CAN just learn something once and retain it..it's not just repetition and leraning.. its called a photographic memory.. its a phenomenon that happens to many people....while some people don't have very good memories, some people do! Some people are whizzes at math and some are amazing artists (i've seen some on this board!) I disagree with you in the fact that memory stems from repetition. I think a truer statement would be that it CAN stem from repetition, but it doesnt have to. Maybe with some people, but when i learn a language, i dont have to repeat the words, they just stick.. I wouldn't classify that as conditioning... thats the reason i dont spend hours studying.. it just sticks in there.


what you need to realise, no matter what we think, is we just don't know enough about memory and the memory-repsonse to say any definitive answer about who can remember what. If you can really prove that, buddy,i'd say write it down and submit it to the science annuals -- you'll be getting QUITE a bit of money if you have some proof! (Seriously, im not joshing you..some of our greatest theorems and proofs have come from lay people!).

To me, its just very difficult to compare humans to T's -- we're alike in MANY ways, but we're just a different species.. its great with all speculation but when it comes down to it, in my opinion, we're just too different. But i'm not closed to the fact that they can remember and dream.... people, at the end of the day, who really knows, right? :)

T brains evolved for certain things and not others, much like their bodies... if you think they have higher brain functions, that's an interesting point of view, and i can't say they dont. I can only tell you my opinion!

we in the neurological sciences just don't know enough to have a definitive answer yet, and again, if you think you do, please write somewhere! Or email me with a larger version of it, i'd love to read it (no sarcasm at ALL!)..seriously!

but as it stands, i fully see your point of view adrian, in all honesty! It's very interesting to me. I love hearing other peoples p.o.v's. I've learned that many people don't want to hear other peoples views.. i think thats stupid, personally. That's part of the fun of life.. people are too stuffy and too stuck on their own views. Personally, i find it quite sad when people are too stuck in their own ideas to be able to see someone else's point of view, but i suppose thats also part of what makes the world go round.

good call, man!

so, who else thinks what??!! This is great =D

peace
dave
 
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RugbyDave

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its amazing and great and wonderful that there's 2 of us talking, but i wish other people would join in,no matter what your opinions are..

maybe some people on this board will shoot you down for you opinions, but i dont think i (or adrian or sean) will -- chime in!!!! :)

by the way, nice one jeff -- i'll let it slide cos you're a fellow rugger ;P

peace
dave
 

belewfripp

Arachnobaron
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Aug 17, 2002
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Just a couple quick things because it's bedtime --

First, my point with the hands/palps was to point out that though we haven't got palps, we do have something similar, i.e. hands. Tarantulas don't have a cerebral cortex, that doesn't mean they don't have something capable of doing a less-advanced imitation of its memory functions.

Also, although a T w/out fangs can't take apart its food, if you gut the cricket yourself, some tarantulas will realise they can suck the juices out. Not as good as being able to digest everything and drink that, but there are people who have sustained Ts that did not have fangs in this manner. I also believe I've read where a T that had somehow busted up its fangs used what was left to do a slash-n-gash job on the crickets and suck out what liquid was in the cricket, but I'm not 100% certain.

And, as Stan Schultz has mentioned, a tarantula he had with no usable legs or palps adapted its chelicerae as 'walking' organs and dragged itself around by its fangs. So, deprived of various body parts, Ts do have quite the ability to adapt.

Lastly, I did not mean to suggest that memories are only formed through repetition, only that they can be. Many human memories are formed from a one-time experience, as are the short-term memories exhibited by salticids. My point was that memory induced by repetition is no less memory than that formed by a one-time experience, and that, indeed, memory induced by stimulus is not really so uncommon, so to designate such a thing in a spider as not really being memory seems incorrect.

I think the main deal here lies not in a confusion of memory, but rather in the definition. I see memory as any recollection, especially a recollection that is used for some purpose (as, again, most human memories are) even if that merely means behaving in a certain way simply because last time something similar happened that behavior proved to be a good one.

Adrian
 
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