Forget 3-D television; HDTV is good enough for discerning octopuses, so it must be good enough for us. Researchers at Macquarie University in Australia found that gloomy octopuses (Octopus tetricus) placed in a tank and exposed to HDTV of predators, prey, and other other octopuses became very excited. Images broadcast in standard definition TV elicited minimal response.
The reason for the octopuses love of HDTV is simple: they have extremely good eyesight. The high definition and high frame rate of HDTV are up to the standards of the intelligent cephalopods.
Beyond the entertainment factor of watching octopuses get excited over TV, the discovery has some important implications for octopus science. The Macquarie University team found that the octopuses didn’t have consistent behavior while watching the HDTV clips–one day a clip of a crab might elicit excitement, while the next the same octopus might not care at all. That means the gloomy octopus has an “episodic personality,” or a personality that changes over time. So now, for the first time ever, scientists can figure out how and why octopus personality is so changeable–all thanks to our love of crisp, quality images.