Adding preferred color to a conventional reward method improves the memory of zebrafish in the T-maze behavior model

Yeon Hwa Kim, Kuen Su Lee, Ae Ran Park, Too Jae Min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Zebrafish have become a useful model for studying behavior and cognitive functions. Recent studies have shown that zebrafish have natural color preference and the ability to form associative memories with visual perception. It is well known that visual perception enhances memory recall in humans, and we suggest that a similar phenomenon occurs in zebrafish. This study proposes that adding a visual perception component to a conventional reward method would enhance memory recall in zebrafish. We found that zebrafish showed greater preference for red cellophane over yellow in the training session but could not remember the preferred place in the memory test. However, the test memory recall was greater when the zebrafish were exposed to the red cellophane with a food reward during the training session, when compared with the use of food reward only. Furthermore, the red cellophane with food reward group showed more predictable memory recall than the food reward only group. These results propose that visual perception can increase memory recall by enhancing the consolidation processes. We suggest that color-cued learning with food reward is a more discriminative method than food reward alone for examining the cognitive changes in the zebrafish. Abbreviations: WM: working memory; LTM: long-term memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-381
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Cells and Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 2
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Korea University Research Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Zebrafish
  • associative learning
  • color
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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