Author(s): Herman LM
Experiment 1 tested a dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) for cross-modal recognition of 25 unique pairings of 8 familiar, complexly shaped objects, using the senses of echolocation and vision. Cross-modal recognition was errorless or nearly so for 24 of the 25 pairings under both visual to echoic matching (V-E) and echoic to visual matching (E-V). First-trial recognition occurred for 20 pairings under V-E and for 24 under E-V. Echoic decision time under V-E averaged only 1.88 s. Experiment 2 tested 4 new pairs of objects for 24 trials of V-E and 24 trials of E-V without any prior exposure of these objects. Two pairs yielded performance significantly above chance in both V-E and E-V. Also, the dolphin matched correctly on 7 of 8 1st trials with these pairs. The results support a capacity for direct echoic perception of object shape by this species and demonstrate that prior object exposure is not required for spontaneous cross-modal recognition.