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Chimpanzees can far outperform humans in some mental tasks, including rapidly memorising and recalling numbers

Chimpanzees can far outperform humans in some mental tasks, including rapidly memorising and recalling numbers | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Chimpanzees can far outperform humans in some mental tasks, including rapidly memorising and recalling numbers, Japanese scientists have shown.

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, of Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute, showed remarkable videos of chimpanzees displaying mental dexterity that would be way beyond most people.

 

The star performer among the institute’s 14 chimpanzees, a 12-year-old male called Ayumu, has learnt all the numerals from 1 to 19. Several other Kyoto chimpanzees have learnt 1 to 9.

 

When the numbers flash up in random places across a computer screen and in random order, and disappear after less than a second, the apes can point immediately to the exact locations where the numerals had been, in the correct numerical order.

 

Prof Matsuzawa said a few exceptional people, such as those with savant syndrome, might be capable of such memory feats but they are far beyond the average human brain. “One person in several thousand may be able to do this,” he said. “All the chimps I have tested can do it.”

 

Prof Matsuzawa, who combines the study of wild chimpanzees in west Africa with research using the captive colony in Kyoto, said such a good working memory – the ability to take in an accurate, detailed image of a complex scene or pattern – was an important survival tool in the wild.

 

 

For example, the apes can quickly assess and remember the distribution of edible fruit in a forest canopy. Or, when two rival bands of chimpanzees encounter one another, they can assess the strength of the rival group and decide whether to fight or flee.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
mdashf's insight:

big head big brain it seems 

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Brain 'reading centers' are culturally universal

Brain 'reading centers' are culturally universal | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

Learning to read Chinese might seem daunting to Westerners used to an alphabetic script, but brain scans of French and Chinese native speakers show that people harness the same brain centers for reading across cultures.


Via Sakis Koukouvis, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Cleverer still - Geniuses are getting brighter. Girls are not as far behind boys as they used to be

Cleverer still - Geniuses are getting brighter. Girls are not as far behind boys as they used to be | Science Communication from mdashf | Scoop.it

SCIENCE has few more controversial topics than human intelligence—in particular, whether variations in it are a result of nature or nurture, and especially whether such variations differ between the sexes. The mines in this field can blow up an entire career, as Larry Summers found out in 2005 when he spoke of the hypothesis that the mathematical aptitude needed for physics and engineering, as well as for maths itself, is innately rarer in women than in men. He resigned as president of Harvard University shortly afterwards.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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