The dynamics of successive induction in larval zebrafish.

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Charles Sherrington identified the properties of the synapse by purely behavioral means-the study of reflexes-more than 100 years ago. They were subsequently confirmed neurophysiologically. Studying reflex interaction, he also showed that activating one reflex often facilitates another, antagonistic one: successive induction, which has since been demonstrated in a wide range of species, from aphids to locusts to dogs and humans. We show a particularly orderly example in zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae; the behavior (locomotion) of larvae is low in dark and intermediate in light, but low in light and substantially higher in dark when dark followed light. A quantitative model of a simple dynamic process is described that readily captures the behavior pattern and the effects of a number of manipulations of lighting conditions.





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Staddon, JER, RC MacPhail and S Padilla (2010). The dynamics of successive induction in larval zebrafish. J Exp Anal Behav, 94(2). pp. 261–266. 10.1901/jeab.2010.94-261 Retrieved from

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John E. R. Staddon

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience

Until my retirement in 2007, my laboratory did experimental research on learning and adaptive behavior, mostly with animals: pigeons, rats, fish, parakeets.  We were particularly interested in timing and memory, feeding regulation, habituation and the ways in which pigeons and rats adapt to reward schedules. The aim  is to arrive at simple models for learning that can help to identify the underlying neural mechanisms. I continue to do theoretical and historical work on the power law in psychophysics, operant learning, timing and memory, habituation and feeding regulation.  I have applied some of these ideas to economics and financial markets and social issues such as traffic control (Distracting Miss Daisy, The Atlantic, 2008; Death by Stop Sign) and smoking (Unlucky Strike, Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking, with David Hockney, UBP, 2013).  A second edition of Adaptive Behavior and Learning (Cambridge UP) was published in 2016. Most recently I have published Scientific Method: How Science Works, Fails to Work, and Pretends to Work. published by Routledge in December, 2017, Unlucky Strike Second Edition, and Science in an age of unreason (Regnery, 2022). 

Stephanie Padilla

Instructor in the Nicholas School of the Environment

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