You might know that some people are found to be very brave once they get a little drunk. It seems that a similar effect has also been discovered in fish in a study conducted by Maurizio Porfiri of Polytechnic Institute of New York University and his colleagues. They found that alcohol reduced the fear of robots in zebrafish.
The team designed a robot which looked and moved like the Indian leaf fish, which is a natural predator of zebrafish. At first when the robot was placed in the tank, the zebrafish stayed away from it like it was cursed. When the researchers added ethanol into the water, things changed rather quickly. The fish with the highest doses of ethanol quickly became a little braver, no longer avoiding the enemy.
The sloshed zebrafish were also not frightened during other fear invoking tests such as placing them in a dark tank and a simulated heron attack. But the purpose of their tests is much more than just studying the behavior of drunk fish.
“The reason for the test was primarily to seek to develop a reliable experimental paradigm to study the effect of ethanol administration with the zebrafish animal model“, Porfiri was saying about the study. “While we do not expect such tests to help us understand human robot interactions per se, they may improve our understanding of the effect of alcohol on human fear and anxiety“.
So if you were a bit restless after looking at Chris Clarke’s creation earlier, maybe you would be just fine if you met the robot baby after a treatment of booze. So when the robots takeover, at least some of us can always seek comfort by turning to the bottle. Alright, so maybe not the best solution to your problems.
What do you think of this study, does it surprise you to hear that the fish were no longer scared at all?