Chimps 1, Humans 0

At the recent The Biological Basis of Preferences and Behaviour conference, Colin Camerer presented the results of a paper about work he and his co-authors had done on chimpanzees at the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University.

At the beginning of the presentation, Camerer showed a couple of videos of experiments dealing with the working memories of chimps. The videos show subjects undergoing a test in which they see five numbers briefly flash on a screen before the numbers are covered with white boxes. The subject must then press the boxes in the order of the numerals. Of the three videos below, the first is a human subject, the second and third a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee (Ayumu) is receiving pieces of apple for each correct answer, which he is collecting from the lower right of the screen.

While the contrast between the first two videos is striking, the third video shows the power of the snapshot that Ayumu has in his mind.

More on this work can be found on the PRI website and in Current Biology. I’ll post on the substance of the paper presented by Camerer, about the game theoretic abilities of chimpanzees, when it is published (hopefully) soon.

Human

Chimp

Distracted chimp

*Jeff Ely beat me to putting up these videos over at Cheap Talk, but since I already had the post put together, it’s still worth a share.

4 comments

      1. Ha. I’ve put many hours into this game and I can assure you that my Chimp-induced inferiority complex is nearing completion.   

  1. My immediate reaction was to wonder why more chimps are not being recruited by talent starved SillyCon Valley startups — I’ll bet this chimp could hack out some killer Ruby after viewing a few tutorials!

Comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s