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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid