A Vanderbuilt University study shows cockroaches go from moron to genius in the same day.
Studies like this make my job easy. Everybody loves to read about cockroach research. I’m no different.
Researchers discovered “dramatic daily variations” in the cockroach’s learning ability, according to a Vandy press release. The study was published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This is the first example of an insect whose ability to learn is controlled by its biological clock,” Terry L. Page, the professor of biological sciences who directed the project, said in the release.
A handful of studies suggest mammals’ learning ability varies with the time of day.
“The Vanderbuilt researchers taught cockroaches to associate peppermint — a scent that they normally find slightly distasteful — with sugar water, causing them to favor it over vanilla, a scent they find universally appealing,” according to the release.
Here’s the good part.
The researchers trained cockroaches at different times in the 24-hour cycle and then tested them to see how long they remembered the association. They found that roaches trained during the evening retained the memory for days while those trained in the morning were “totally incapable” of forming new memories, although they could recall memories from other times.
Page suggested circadian rhythm could be influencing a number of senses beyond vision.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer