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Chimps Beat Humans on Memory Tasks

Young Chimps' Photographic Memory Better than Adult Humans

This photo provided by the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, show a chimpanzee named Ayumu as he performs the second stage of a memory test. The chimp must recall the location on a touch sensitive monitor of numerals that have changed to squares. (Tetsuro Matsuzawa/ Kyoto/ Primate Research Institute/ AP Photo )

In a memory competition of man versus chimp, Japanese researchers found that chimpanzees performed better than humans.

"No one could imagine that chimpanzees -- young chimpanzees at the age of 5 -- have a better performance in a memory task than humans," Kyoto University researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa said in a statement.

Click on our media player, left, for clips of these memory battles that pit man against chimp.

In the first test, the chimps successfully counted sequentially from one to nine in return for a peanut or other tasty reward.

In the second test, researchers flashed just some of the nine numerals, then blocked them. The chimps remembered, with mixed success, where each numeral was -- in the right order, even though some were missing.

Though far from perfect, the results surprised the Japanese researchers, who reported their results in the journal Current Biology.

One chimp, Ayumu, distinguished himself from the other chimps in mental ability. He was included in a second round of tests, which included him and 9 college students.

Five numbers were flashed on a screen for 7/10 of a second, before they became white squares. The participants were required to touch the squares in their correct numerical sequence. When the numbers were shown, Ayumu and the college students succeeded in guessing the correct sequence about 80 percent of the time.

 

 



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The Chimp would beat me simply because... I don't work for PEANUTS.

Hey that's interesting thanks for posting it. At first I just thought it was a dumb post, by the title, I am glad I opened it to see what you were talking about. I just thought it was a dumb joke at first.



Hah. Wait, so human memory has in fact devolved? Ah the world's a funny place.



"Whenever you find a man who says he doesn't believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later."   -C.S. Lewis

"We all make choices... but in the end, our choices... make us."   -Andrew Ryan, Bioshock

Prediction: Wii passes 360 in US between July - September 2008. (Wii supply will be the issue to watch, and barring any freak incidents between now and then as well.) - 6/5/08; Wow, came true even earlier. Wii is a monster.

this chimp would beat me. I have absolutely horrible memory



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Don't you see! They are going to take over just like in that movie!





(And yes I know they aren't apes or monkeys).



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PlagueOfLocust said:
Hah. Wait, so human memory has in fact devolved? Ah the world's a funny place.

 It depends what you mean.  In the same way that a computer is extremely good at some things and extremely poor at others, so to is the brain.  While it might be bad at this type of memorization it doesn't automatically imply that across the board its worse then all other types of memorization. 



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Sqrl said:
PlagueOfLocust said:
Hah. Wait, so human memory has in fact devolved? Ah the world's a funny place.

 It depends what you mean.  In the same way that a computer is extremely good at some things and extremely poor at others, so to is the brain.  While it might be bad at this type of memorization it doesn't automatically imply that across the board its worse then all other types of memorization. 


Well sure, we trump computers heuristically for example. But I'm not suggesting that there are or aren't types of memorization that I'm better at than a chimp; I'm just referring to the type of memorization we're talking about here.

Edit - And is it that the human brain is necessarily "bad" at this type of memorization, or that the chimp brain is just "good" at it? I don't pretend to know. Maybe the chimp knows; he seems pretty sharp to me.



"Whenever you find a man who says he doesn't believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later."   -C.S. Lewis

"We all make choices... but in the end, our choices... make us."   -Andrew Ryan, Bioshock

Prediction: Wii passes 360 in US between July - September 2008. (Wii supply will be the issue to watch, and barring any freak incidents between now and then as well.) - 6/5/08; Wow, came true even earlier. Wii is a monster.

Maybe they just did the tests with retarded people, if they did the tests with kids then they would have done better since kids have a better memory than adults.




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supermario128 said:
Maybe they just did the tests with retarded people, if they did the tests with kids then they would have done better since kids have a better memory than adults.

Is that true of kids? Do you think the fact that the researchers selected young chimps for the test affected the outcome in their direction?



"Whenever you find a man who says he doesn't believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later."   -C.S. Lewis

"We all make choices... but in the end, our choices... make us."   -Andrew Ryan, Bioshock

Prediction: Wii passes 360 in US between July - September 2008. (Wii supply will be the issue to watch, and barring any freak incidents between now and then as well.) - 6/5/08; Wow, came true even earlier. Wii is a monster.

The only reason why a chimp is able to win this sort of thing is because unlike us the chimp has only primitive thoughts going on in its head in comparison and so if its determined to just win the memory game all it will do is concentrate solely on that and not think about other things like we do. Also that is only a test of short term memory which is much different than long term.



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