As the characters of "Finding Nemo" are amazingly close to reality, I was wondering whether the fish which was portrayed as "Dory" in the film actually has a short term memory loss problem in reality?

3 Answers 3


No, Blue Tang fish do not have worse memory than any other fish. Even gold fish can be trained and remember food routes for months, as seen on MythBusters, disproving the common saying of "goldfish memory".

Remember, Dory only says her bad memory runs in her family. Like Finding Nemo revolved around a fish disabled by birth defect/physical trauma, Finding Dory revolves around someone disabled with mental issues from birth. But it's not trait shared by the entire species, just Dory's lineage. Or at least she thinks it does.

The parents were going to have the Short Memory Loss as well, but it was hard to make it work. http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1524850/the-finding-dory-plot-detail-that-had-to-be-dropped-and-why Obviously the film shows that not even her parents have it. Only Dory has it. A single Blue Tang, not species wide.

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    Bonus cookies for stating the real motif of the franchise: People with disabilities are people just like the same. Jun 28, 2016 at 13:38
  • How can Dory remember that bad memory runs in her family?
    – CJ Dennis
    Jun 29, 2016 at 10:22
  • @cjdennis she can't.
    – cde
    Jun 29, 2016 at 14:42

My answer just scientifically complements @cde's answer. As it is longer than a comment, I'm adding as a separate answer.

The three-second memory is a myth

The fish Dory is based on does not have short-term memory loss. It is rather more awesome than that.

blue tang, regal tang and surgeonfish. Its scientific name is Paracanthurus hepatus.It has several names, including royal

And, the memory of fishes are much better than we think.

Like other fish, the royal blue tang is unlikely to have a bad short-term memory. There are no studies to suggest any fish has a "three-second memory". In fact, the opposite is true.

Fish can remember things for many months. One team of researchers discovered that carp could learn to associate a certain sound with food, and then remember it up to 5 months later.

Fish can even be trained to respond to visual illusions. This requires repeated training sessions so that they easily recognise certain shapes and environments. No one has specifically studied the memory of the royal blue tang. But given that several fish species have good memory skills, we should expect that Dory and all her relatives will be just as good.

I've made my answer spoiler-free for the "Finding Dory" film. But, the article (mentioned underneath as source) may contain some subtle spoilers.

Source: BBC article on "Finding the real Dory"

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    I always felt bad for fish trapped in relatively small tanks (i.e. the vast majority of fish that I see) but what seemed to make it vaguely acceptable was that by the time they'd swum the length of the tank, they'd forgotten what was at the other end and thus probably didn't mind. But this blows that rationale out of the water [sic]. Dang. :( Jun 28, 2016 at 13:30

Absolutely not. Because in the movie Finding Dory we see that

Dory's mom and Dad don't have short term memory loss.

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