Researchers at Princeton University have used a video game to study the behavior of fish, using a pattern of red dots projected in the tanks of the bluegill sunfish to see exactly how they launch their attacks on prey.
Dr. Iain Couzin, who is the senior researcher at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, stated, “By creating immersive video game for the fish we were able to have complete control over the parameters. Trying to do this experiment with natural grouping prey items, it would have been impossible to understand or control what was going on.”
He added, “An undergraduate student worked the entire summer on the exact type of dot to use. We tested out a whole range of different types of dots.”
The fish seemed to be completely fooled by the red dots and the researchers were able to determine that the dot patterns and shapes affected the way the predator fish attacked.