News / Science & Technology

Chimpanzee Minds Are Like Humans, Better in Some Ways

A chimpanzee named Ayumu performs the second stage of a memory test in which he must recall the location on a touch sensitive monitor of numerals that have changed to blank squares, at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, Dec. 13, 2006.A chimpanzee named Ayumu performs the second stage of a memory test in which he must recall the location on a touch sensitive monitor of numerals that have changed to blank squares, at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, Dec. 13, 2006.
x
A chimpanzee named Ayumu performs the second stage of a memory test in which he must recall the location on a touch sensitive monitor of numerals that have changed to blank squares, at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, Dec. 13, 2006.
A chimpanzee named Ayumu performs the second stage of a memory test in which he must recall the location on a touch sensitive monitor of numerals that have changed to blank squares, at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, Dec. 13, 2006.
At Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute, a chimpanzee named Ayumu is performing a task that is impossible for a person to do, revealing how chimp cognition can mirror - and in some cases surpass - the capabilities of the human brain.

Sitting in front of a computer monitor that briefly displays the numbers one through nine in a random pattern, the chimp touches the number one. The remaining digits are immediately hidden behind white squares. But Ayumu can touch where each number was, in ascending order - 2, 3, 4, and so on. People cannot remember the location of more than a few numbers.

At the annual meeting in Boston of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa showed a video [seen above] demonstrating Ayumu's extraordinary working memory. He suggests that although humans cannot match that skill, we don't need to, because we have language.

"Chimpanzees are so good at memorizing things at a glance. We are not so good at memorizing things at a glance, but we can see the things and perceive the meaning of what we see," said Matsuzawa.

Watch this incredible video of Ayumu in action, courtesy of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University:



Other research presented at the AAAS meeting, which highlighted the similarities between primate and human minds, found occurrences of human-like depression, post-tramatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders among captive great apes. These studies have helped fuel a growing movement to stop using primates as research subjects, or at least to put new ethical guidelines in place to protect lab primates from cruel or inhumane treatment.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: andrewborovskikh@gmail.co
February 20, 2013 9:03 AM
Look, this is not just “the chimpanzee in the street”, it’s a JAPANESE chimpanzee. Everything a Japanese takes up, becomes better, more refined and completed. If a Japanese takes up, say, growing apples, they are gonna be the roundest apples in the world. You know, packed in boxes, they look like billiard or Christmas balls. So, you see, it’s not a “chimpanzee in the car” anymore, it’s the aptest ape in the world now.
On the other hand, just imagine you are a captive, and the only entertainment you have is the long-coveted banana. Would you not exert yourself to memorize the location of the nine numbers to get the prize and maybe to avoid a rap from your captor?

by: Timur Tyncherov
February 20, 2013 8:57 AM
Look at the touch screen with the transparent guard this chimp uses. He can touch the squares, but he cannot wallop the screen angry when it does not come off. I can also punch the miscreant vendor when it holds out on a beer can. Our minds are very much alike indeed. Good study! Mr. Matsuzawa, a free banana from me for Ayumu-kun!

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 18, 2013 11:18 AM
Others have reported many basic human like social interactions, and a basic ability to solve some simple problems. Given these very amazing new findings, humanity should absolutely and immediately outlaw the use of primates for any type of experimentation, and provide some very basic universal guranteed protections and rights, beyond the existing animal protection laws.
In Response

by: Cranksy from: USA
February 18, 2013 1:34 PM
Hi JKF, it is not just primates that have those traits. For me, if an animal is capable of feeling distress is a very important consideration. What you propose would be a beginning.

by: Cranksy from: USA
February 16, 2013 12:47 PM
Please think twice when acting as if human beings are that different from other conscience beings.
In Response

by: JKF from: Ottawa, canada
February 18, 2013 4:49 PM
You are correct, but because primates share so many human genes, with humans, they are one of the principal species, used, for testing many geno/ chemicals, medical related procedures, etc. In my view all testing on creatures should be stopped, given that you ca use computerized models; and actually grow organs from stem cells and even skin cells...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs