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Chimps Outscore College Students on Memory Test

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the well-when-the-rewards-are-bananas dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 271

AP's Malcolm Ritter reports that young chimpanzees were better at remembering a series of numbers flashed on a screen, than the Japanese college students used as a control group. Scientists plan to repeat the experiment using 5th graders against the great apes.

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BAC! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562073)

I demand blood alcohol content tests!

At least make the chimps do banana flavored shots the night before ...

Re:BAC! (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562321)

At least make the chimps do banana flavored shots the night before ...
The scary part is -- that they did.

Re:BAC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562465)

At least make the chimps do banana flavored shots the night before ...

The scary part is -- that they did.
Yes, in the name of *cough* science.

Do you have a YouTube video of that research?

Re:BAC! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562789)

well, you know, anything to disprove religion.

Re:BAC! (1)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562559)

This research is crap in my eyes. I bet that monkey has been practasing the same test for the last few years. Doing the same thing, day in, day out, no wonder he was faster.
I'd like to know what would hapen if they tried to make a human to the same test every day for a few years, who'd win then?

Re:BAC! (4, Funny)

Squiffy (242681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563047)

Considering some of the undergrads I've known, I'm surprised they were able to get them all to sit still long enough to administer the test. It must have been like herding cats.

Re:BAC! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562901)

I don't think they should be allowed to refer to 'African American' students as 'chimps'...

What? Oh...

Obligatory... (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562089)

I, for one, welcome our new... umm... er, ah what were they again?

Re:Obligatory... (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562167)

Microsoft network security engineers?

Re:Obligatory... (5, Funny)

diodia_teres (1177869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563015)

So I guess in college when all those girls claimed that they forgot my number, they were telling the truth.

Misleading... (5, Interesting)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562095)

FTA:

Results showed that the chimps, while no more accurate than the people, could do this faster.
Seems to me that the headline is slightly misleading. It's not that the chimps could do better on the memory tests, they could just do it faster - at least for the 8/10ths of a second test. Later the article shows that the chimps could perform the same when the screen flashed for only 2/10ths of a second. This doesn't necessarily mean that they have a better memory, as this could be attributed to peripheral vision as well.

Re:Misleading... (4, Informative)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562249)

Why is this post modded (at time of my reply) off-topic. This is exactly what the article says.

The Chimps are better at "reacting" then people are. That they do as well as humans when the numbers are flashed on the screen for a longer duration is more of a surprise. The more time that is allowed for memorizing, the better humans should do. This doesn't seem to be the case though. Nothing in the article says whether any tests where done, with say, 5 seconds of showing the numbers on the screen - which would really allow for actual thought and not just 'reaction'....

Re:Misleading... (4, Funny)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562453)

All it shows is that homo sapiens is easily distracted.
After approximately .3 seconds, the homo sapiens mind
can not suppress thoughts of sex.

It's all part of the intelligent design.

Re:Misleading... (4, Informative)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562571)

FTA:

They saw nine numbers displayed on a computer screen. When they touched the first number, the other eight turned into white squares. The test was to touch all these squares in the order of the numbers that used to be there.

Results showed that the chimps, while no more accurate than the people, could do this faster.


I requoted that part because the test they are talking about is important.

If you can see these numbers on the screen for any length of time you want, then "reaction" becomes irrelevant. I interpret this portion of the article to say the chimps could perform at the same accuracy as the humans while taking less time to memorize and recall the numbers' locations. That certainly sounds like "better" short-term memory to me... increased speed without loss of accuracy.

The SECOND test also involved remembering the location of five numbers on the screen and recalling these locations in the correct order, except the subjects had less than a second to study them. This test indicates that the chimp was again able to memorize the pattern faster and with more accuracy than humans.
=Smidge=

Re:Misleading... (4, Insightful)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563069)

That certainly sounds like "better" short-term memory to me... increased speed without loss of accuracy.
Whether or not that is better depends on oter parameters, as well. SRAM is much faster than DRAM, yet modern high performance desktops rely on DRAM - because SRAM has a lower density than DRAM. Likewise, the chimpanzee brain could allocate more resources to short-term memory, on the expense of other functions our brains tend to emphasize. The result would be faster short-term memory that still wouldn't neccessarily be desirable for us.

Re:Misleading... (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562807)

not onyl that but

The other factor is the youth of Ayumu and his peers. The memory for images that's needed for the tests resembles a skill found in children, but which dissipates with age. In fact, the young chimps performed better than older chimps in the new study. (Ayuma's mom did even worse than the college students).

oops? the age groups are not on equal ground. try the same thing with humans and you might just see the same thing occur. it would be amazing if the chimps' ages were more representative of those they were competing against eg. older chimps vs. corespondingly older humans, young chimps vs. young huamns

Brain speed != intelligence (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562969)

The speed at which you see and respond is not at all linked to intelligence. It is far more linked to your need for this speed (ie. due to evolution), priimarily driven by your need to control motion and for feeding.

For example animals which feed by catching fast moving bugs in their mouth (eg. birds and fish) need to respond very quickly otherwise their food is long gone. Animals that eat berries and kill their food or have paws and hands don't have to be that fast. Animals that live in trees etc and need to judge distance better (monkeys etc) need faster responses than ground based humans etc.

I forget what this effect is called, but I understand that trout have a speed 20x that of humans. That's to be expected when a trout has to feed by eating little bugs coming past it in fast moving water. The trout has to be able to respond quickly to make an energy efficient movement and get the bug before it has gone. The energy in a small gnat is not enough to waste on charging around the stream.

As a result of this, I'm not at all suprised that a chimp beats a human in a low level counting game.

Re:Misleading... (2, Insightful)

fropenn (1116699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563077)

Another significant problem with the article is the small number of chimps and humans that were used in the study. It is possible that the 3 chimps who were selected are on the high end of chimp brain function and the 12 humans who volunteered were on the low end of human brain function.
In fact, now that I think about it, I know lots of people whose brains function at a much lower level than a chimp...

Should I have a million apes in my basement (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562101)

memorizing numbers instead of Asians, for long term data storage?

Which work cheaper?

Re:Should I have a million apes in my basement (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562135)

Why would you want to memorize Asians?

Re:Should I have a million apes in my basement (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562259)

Why would you want to memorize Asians?

If they happen to be the female of the specicies, then I have a few ideas :)

Re:Should I have a million apes in my basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562569)

Read his question again.

He was asking if his hypothetical chimps should be memorizing Asians. Not if he should be memorizing Asians himself.

Re:Should I have a million apes in my basement (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562823)

Whoosh!

(He knows what the GP meant, I'm sure. But if you read his question again, you might note how the broken grammar implies memorizing Asians. Hence the joke. Which you missed. Which made a whooshing sound as it flew over your head.)

Re:Should I have a million apes in my basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21563073)

Asians are cheaper. Stay clear of simian scabs.

AFL/CIO, Asian Chapter

I Wonder (3, Funny)

sirgoran (221190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562105)

Was the test given before or after the students had a kegger?
It might explain the chimps score.

Re:I Wonder (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562303)

Was the test given before or after the students had a kegger? It might explain the chimps score.

While that might have something to do with it I would assume it has a lot more to do with the fact that your typical college student has a ton more on their minds than just a series of numbers for a test. Numerous passwords, telephone numbers, what time/date they have an exam/group meeting/social gathering, several projects to work on that evening, etc.

I would go so far as to say that the animals compared to the college students in the study have a lot less on their minds.

Re:I Wonder (4, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562477)

Numerous passwords
I'm up to 12 codes and passwords, every year more ... I'll have to adopt a chimpansee to help me.

Re:I Wonder (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562669)

You've obviously never had to decide between a bannana or apple, have you?

Re:I Wonder (1)

Aesir1984 (1120417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562951)

Not to mention lack of sleep which has been shown to have a large effect on memory.

Re:I Wonder (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562747)

it is "sake" in japan, you Alzheimer clod! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sake [wikipedia.org]

Re:I Wonder (2, Informative)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562923)

Psst: they have beer in Japan. In kegs even. It's quite popular too.

Wrong training ... (2, Funny)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562119)

From TFA:"Even with six months of training, three students failed to catch up to the three young chimps, Matsuzawa said in an e-mail."

Wondering what/how they trained, I'd bet that (some inner) martial arts training would have helped to improve, say, 'speed of holistic perception'.

CC.

Statistical analysis? (1)

thermowax (179226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562127)


Yeah, well, did they control for hangover? :)

Mr. Foxworthy... (1)

hanshotfirst (851936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562139)

"Scientists plan to repeat the experiment using 5th graders against the great apes."

Run out of contestants for the game show, did we?

Re:Mr. Foxworthy... (4, Informative)

adamanthaea (723150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562539)

"Hello, Fox execs? Yes, I'd like to pitch a new game or reality show entitled 'Are You Smarter Than a Chimpanzee." What? Come on, it's not like you've got anything else worth watching, especially with the writer's strike."

Reinforcement (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562169)

This just reinforces the notion that "Survival of the Fittest" no longer applies to the human race and signifies the beginning of what will eventually become the land from the Planet of the Apes.

Re:Reinforcement (5, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562399)

Thanks for that insight Coco! Now get back in your cage and stop using my Wi-Fi!

Re:Reinforcement (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562475)

Not really. Like autistic people whose higher brain functions are impaired but have a greatly increased capacity for math, it's possible that the monkeys have a greater capacity for memory because humans have evolved to displace the memory with something else. If there's a choice between a memory that's 40% better or the ability to use tools, I'll take the tools. Likewise, if you can remember twice as many things in order, but I can remember those things AND their associations to themselves and the world around them, I'm going to have an advantage to survival.

They were going to try the test on Boston students (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562171)

They were going to try the test on Boston students, but they mistook the numbers for a bomb and detonated the lab equipment.

Are we surpised? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562175)

Most of the college kids I know couldn't even pass a simple test like this [snipurl.com] . Hooray for the future of tommorow!

Re:Are we surpised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562317)

Can someone braver than I test this URL (also at work, so wary of anything NSFW)? I have a sneaking suspicion that that link points to either goatse, tubgirl, or possibly 2girls1cup... none of which I wish to subject myself to at this moment.

Re:Are we surpised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562473)

GNAA

Re:Are we surpised? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562485)

Troll link in parent. Takes over the browser window and plays annoying sound.

In other news... (5, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562179)

A large group of chimpanzees has produced the collected works of Shakespeare four times faster than the same number of college students, and with fewer spelling errors.

Actually, it kind of makes sense (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562183)

That a chimp would do it faster. A human would instinctively put a "name" on each number seen, thus slowing down the "processing".

Re:Actually, it kind of makes sense (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562383)

This occured to me, as well. I wonder how each group would have done with some sort of characters that mean nothing to either group. Something like the transformers font, or those symbols on the predator's arm bom thing...

Cue the chimp overlord jokes (0, Redundant)

theskipper (461997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562199)

in 4...3...2...85...

Yes, but... (5, Funny)

lazlo (15906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562207)

The chimps scored better than the college students on memory tests, but their term papers were only marginally better.

Re:Yes, but... (2, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562863)

We already know robots have a better than average memory - We should try Pirates next, then if theres time and we can find some - study the abilities of Ninjas.

We could then have all the winners of each team compete in a sort of game or something.

faster reflexes, but is it fast enough? (1)

quickpick (1021471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562239)

FTA "But when the numbers were displayed for just four-tenths or two-tenths of a second, the chimp was the champ. The briefer of those times is too short to allow a look around the screen, and in those tests Ayumu still scored about 80 percent, while humans plunged to 40 percent." So basically the chimp can see something and remember it better than a human...but like Heavy Gunner said from The Orange Box "Some people think they can outsmart me. maybe, maybe. I have yet to meet one that can outsmart bullet."

Not a comparison of cognitive ability (5, Interesting)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562251)

One memory test included three 5-year-old chimps who'd been taught the order of Arabic numerals 1 through 9, ...

Results showed that the chimps, while no more accurate than the people, could do this faster.
Seems to me that these chimps were trained to perform this task. They've probably even used the test setup before whereas the humans were probably using it for the first time. I guess I'm not surprised that the chimps were faster than the humans. Also:

But when the numbers were displayed for just four-tenths or two-tenths of a second, the chimp was the champ. The briefer of those times is too short to allow a look around the screen, and in those tests Ayumu still scored about 80 percent, while humans plunged to 40 percent.
That says to me that a chimp is able to move its eyes around faster than a human is. This is also something I would expect. So perhaps this result says more about relative visual ability than relative cognitive ability?

Re:Not a comparison of cognitive ability (5, Interesting)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562337)

It doesn't test anything such as deduction and problem solving either, which is where I would bet humans have the advantage.

Repeat the test with a predictable pattern of numbers (or symbols, doesn't really matter), and have the subjects try to guess the next in the sequence.

Re:Not a comparison of cognitive ability (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563079)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8... Damn it.

Re:Not a comparison of cognitive ability (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562345)

FTFA:

What's going on here? Even with six months of training, three students failed to catch up to the three young chimps, Matsuzawa said in an e-mail.

Since there were 12 student subjects, 9 out of 12 eventually matched/beat the chimps.

Remember the game 'Simon"?

Re:Not a comparison of cognitive ability (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562795)

Vaguely yeah.. Hang on ill just ask my Chimp Secretary if he remembers it.

Re:Not a comparison of cognitive ability (2, Informative)

berj (754323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562371)

Seems to me that these chimps were trained to perform this task. They've probably even used the test setup before whereas the humans were probably using it for the first time. I guess I'm not surprised that the chimps were faster than the humans

From the article:

"Even with six months of training, three students failed to catch up to the three young chimps, Matsuzawa said in an e-mail."

Re:Not a comparison of cognitive ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562691)

In tests such as these, especially the two-tenths conditions, you don't have time to move your eyes. The brief display will register across the full visual field, and you have to rely on that memory. Yes, it does say some about visual ability, but in this case, visual ability is a type of cognitive ability.

Training does have its benefits, as the article noted, but human subjects still don't do better even with training.

Take it like a man (ie. a human) (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562713)

The chimps clearly can *memorize* the screen faster than a human. That is photographic memory. In experimental sciences, the experiment is the truth. This is the experiment that shows that the monkey was able to view and memorize the screen faster than a human. And no, monkeys see about the same as we do.

It is sad that the only thing we can come up with is a childish "no, we are better because I said so! the experiment cannot be true! whahahaha!". Sad. We are just a creature with limits and this experiment shows this. We should accept the results and move on. The results should humble us (oh, and it is another nail in the "humans are gods of animal world" coffin) and not start to deny the truth (experiment).

Boringly predictable research. (5, Interesting)

wolfen (12255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562283)

The best part about this news story is when you reach the
end of the article and the researchers reveal that
their results are basically meaningless because you
  can get the same results by testing children versus adults.

The real question is how to human children compare with the young chimpanzees.

Re:Boringly predictable research. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562987)

I remember a test a while back which compared the mentality of a chimp to that of a two year old. they showed them various ways to open things and the chimps as well as the two year olds often forgot the correct way and resorted to bashing open in some way.

After the age of two, the humans started learning the proper ways rather easily and could open what ever was given them by mimicking what was shown to them.

I'm going to guess that age effects ability of these short term memory problems which could be why it is easier for kids to accept new tech and gadgets and adults seem to have to work it in.

Noam Chimpsky (1)

sjhs (453964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562295)

Is it possible that the chimps selected for this experiment just have an exceptionally good memory for chimps, maybe even photographic memories? It may be that we're comparing the Stephen Hawkings of chimps with a random sample of college students. We should have Stephen Hawking take the test to make it fair.

The real question is. (4, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562319)

Did the monkeys have a hat on?

Obligatory Phony McRing-Ring (1)

AslanTheMentat (896280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562325)

Phony McRing-Ring: "...scientists have discovered that even monkeys can memorize 10 numbers! Are you stupider than a monkey?"

Chief Wiggum: "Mmmmeh, How big of a monkey?"

Honestly... (1)

Tavor (845700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562341)

Call me a luddite, but with everything modern society forces us to remember/memorize, memorizing jibberish on a test will suffer greatly by the increased load. Hence, monkeys with the reduced load on their memory will outperform their more intelligent cousins.
Disclaimer: I *am* a College Student.

Well no shit... (5, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562349)

I am positive that, after 6 years (2 degrees) of drinking and sleep deprivation, I am significantly dumber than I was going in to school.

Re:Well no shit... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562577)

I am positive that, after 6 years (2 degrees) of drinking and sleep deprivation, I am significantly dumber than I was going in to school.

Wait till you have kids. You ain't seen nothing yet. I did 9 years and 3 degrees of sleep deprivation and liver-killing drinking and it doesn't even compare to 18 months of raising rugrats.

Re:Well no shit... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562801)

I have 2. Actually, now that they are getting older (12 & 7) I'm getting more brain practice in - it's real work trying to keep one step ahead of the precocious little bastards!

Re:Well no shit... (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562849)

I've had eleven years of "raising rugrats", and

Never mind, I've forgotten what I am doing here. Sorry.

Complexity (1)

Databass (254179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562387)

When your brain doesn't have quite as much high-level conceptualization, optimizing for memorizing simpler patterns is probably a little easier. The gut reaction from this story is "OMG chimps are smarter than people!!!"

But the same human mind that isn't quite as good at memorizing sequences can easily do things that the chimps (or computers or pidgeons) can't, for example paraphrase in their own words the story of Goldilocks and Three Bears. I'm curious if the pidgeons (which are "programmable" in a lot of ways, but with presumably even less complex thought overhead than chimps) are even better at being programmed at this numbers-memorization technique than the chimps.

wildlife more acutely aware of their environment (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562423)

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If only... (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562425)

If Tim Burton had know this a few years ago, maybe his crappy remake would have been better.

Re:If only... (3, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562661)

If Tim Burton had know this a few years ago, maybe his crappy remake would have been better.

I think the real argument is that the remake would have been better if we'd let the chimps make the film instead of Tim Burton.

5th Graders (4, Funny)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562447)

Scientists plan to repeat the experiment using 5th graders against the great apes.
I'm having difficulty understanding the reasoning of going from college students to 5th graders. I suppose I could RTFM, but instead I'm going to criticize from the safety of Slashdot.

Re:5th Graders (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562551)

Shit, I meant RTFA.

Re:5th Graders (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562619)

Shit, I meant RTFA.

Ahh... you were in the control group, I see.

Re:5th Graders (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562941)

:-P

I think I know why... (1)

jhRisk (1055806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562459)

... chimps smoke less pot than college students. Crap forgot where that source study came from...

Alcohol must be a factor (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562521)

College students are known for being heavy drinkers. Japanese people have a bit of a reputation for the same.

Either that or the Japanese education system isn't quite the world-beater we were told it was.

Flawed experimental design (4, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562523)

To be accurate, they should have used chimpanzees who were attending college.

With applications to TV (1)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562525)

Does this mean we'll have to replace the premise of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

Short term memory great for kids (1)

purplelocust (944662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562561)

If you've played games which emphasize short term memory (the card game Concentration, where you need to remember where cards are located while they are face down) against a little kid, you'll realize there are some interesting effects with kids' memory being excellent in this regard. Grown adults are definitely not as good as little kids at those kind of games- the only way I could beat my niece was by maximizing distraction. When the cards were laid out in a grid as she was accustomed to, she would reliably beat me if I couldn't distract her. The only times I was able to beat her were by scattering the cards haphazardly... It's somewhat humiliating to be trying your hardest and lose to someone who can just barely read... So there may be some specialization that takes place, and adults/college students have probably lost some of their peak short-term memory ability as they have developed higher-level analysis skills. It kind of makes me slightly wish I'd taken psych in college (years ago) instead of econ... (Not really, econ was cake...)

Re:Short term memory great for kids (1)

call -151 (230520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562587)

They said they were thinking about trying 5th graders next against the chimps. How would 5th graders do against college students?

The Cake is a Lie. (1)

PaddirN (567657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562565)

"The chimps were rewarded with raisins or apple cubes for correct answers." It seems to be me that the chimps actually had the motivation to remember these numbers. I bet if you offered those people some Cake they'd pass that test just fine. This can't be that surprising though, given how much information there is in the world today, humans are overloaded with things we need to remember. As a result we have become more reliant on artificial means for memorizing facts: notes, books, PDAs, contact lists with numbers and addresses. Our brains just can't handle All the information we need in a day, so we've had to supplement them with technology. We don't even really need to remember much apart from where we have the information kept at. Hell, most people probably just Google up the info that they need anyways. Compare the memory of people in modern industrial countries with those that live in more traditional cultures with rich oral traditions and you'll probably find a similar gap in memory I would guess.

Re:The Cake is a Lie. (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562659)

I bet if you offered those people some free iPods or Wiis they'd pass that test just fine.

There, fixed it for ya.

Re:The Cake is a Lie. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562887)

A very similar 'experiment' has actually happened. Between the Snes and the Playstation, "Secrets" was hip on video games. Basically, you could cheat if you could remember a long series of button presses. The ability of kids and young adults to memorize these strings of button presses was pretty surprising.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21562567)

I for one welcome our new chimp overlords.

Actually... (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562589)

The chimp results don't surprise me. I'm more interested in the Japanese College Students vs. Fifth Graders competition.

In related news... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562655)

college students were found to be better at flinging poo than chimps.

I am not surprised... (1)

Endloser (1170279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562673)

I work at a college help desk and the chimps never call.

Apples and oranges (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562683)

That's not fair. The chimps didn't have hangovers.

Memory tests aren't everything (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562707)

Sure, the chimps beat the test. And how many people do you know could weave a spider web from silk? Very few. Of course, those chimps didn't drive themselves to the testing station, didn't sign their names and fill out the forms, etc. So clearly more is going on than just memory = intelligence.

Chimps are better at the stock market too (1)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562717)

There have been various studies about chips throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal and doing better than some analysts. Are they just lucky?

On average, if eight blindfolded chimpanzees threw darts at the stock pages of the Wall Street Journal for three years, one of them would end up beating the market.

Humans and chimps share roughly 98 percent of the same genes, but that doesn't make it a good idea to give your money to a stock picker who munches on bananas and termites. Our chimp isn't a great investor -- he's just lucky. - money.cnn.com [slashdot.org]


So, was the chimp lucky, smarter or is this some trait we don't, as of yet, comprehend?

Re:Chimps are better at the stock market too (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562799)

You can take three of anything that can throw darts and one of them will generally beat the average ("the market").

The somewhat interesting thing is that blindfolded chimps or people or whatever (meaning random chance) will also tend to perform about the same as professional stock pickers. In other words, the non-blindfolded pros overall don't outperform the average either.

Flawed Summary (3, Interesting)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562777)

The article itself contains a flawed summary. This does nothing to prove the ability of chimps to memorize numbers better than humans, but it does show a greater ability toward pattern recognition. That's not intelligence. In fact, I'd expect that given that pattern recognition is primarily a function of the ability to recognize a predator and/or food that isn't good for you. Given that we as human beings haven't had any significant predators and really don't forage for food (generally, there are exceptions) for thousands of years, you'd expect those lesser-used parts of the brain to "grow limp". A chimp, on the other hand has a certain biological imperative to be able to recognize predators early in life. Chimps that don't, don't perpetuate.

There's also a factor that there are some biological differences between our species; like the physical fact that chimps can move their eyes faster and have physically smaller bodies therefore nerve impulses don't take so long to travel to the limbs.

Frankly, I fail to see what has been proven here. Maybe I'm missing something because I'm not a chimp :)

Unfair test? (1)

martyb (196687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562815)

FYI, here's the video library [kyoto-u.ac.jp] .

Look closely at two comparable tests:

There's a BIG difference in the testing: the human gets no cookies! <grin>

But seriously, I have to admit it is an intriguing test. What I would love to see, though, is another set of test runs which compared chimps with some serious gamers!

Re:Unfair test? (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562945)

Rewards could actually increase the ability to learn. So you might have a point there.

Whew.... (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562829)

Good thing then for Brighteyes (Taylor) that they didn't use a combination lock on the cages. He'd have been stuck there with that girl forever. She was a cutie though thats for sure so it may have not been a bad thing over all. ;)

Then maybe the chimps... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562853)

... can take second semester organic chemistry for me. I had to take that abysmal class twice because I couldn't memorize the material quickly enough the first time around.

Intelligence or Reflex? (1)

sarysa (1089739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21562939)

So the basis for "chimps have better memory than humans" is with the ability to memorize patterns displayed for a split second. Even the article admits that the college students lost to the chimp when the patterns were displayed for shorter periods of time. It doesn't seem like an intelligence thing, it seems like a reflex thing, which I absolutely expect primates to be superior at. So I suggest that the test be done again with chimps vs. hardcore gamers, ones who win international Half Life competitions, or Tetris competitions, or anything requiring extreme hand-eye coordination. I'm sure we'd beat those filthy stinking apes!

Are you smarter than a fifth grade chimp? (1)

KE1LR (206175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21563005)

Scientists plan to repeat the experiment using 5th graders against the great apes.

Will Jeff Foxworthy be the host?

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