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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More