5-year-old Chimp Beats College Kids In Computer Game
Japanese researchers pitted young chimps against human adults in two tests of short-term memory, and overall, the chimps won. That challenges the belief of many people, including many scientists, that humans are superior to chimpanzees in all cognitive functions, said researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa of Kyoto University.
"No one can imagine that chimpanzees - young chimpanzees at the age of 5 -have a better performance in a memory task than humans," he said in a statement.
Matsuzawa, a pioneer in studying the mental abilities of chimps, said even he was surprised.
One memory test included three 5-year-old chimps who'd been taught the order of Arabic numerals 1 through 9, and a dozen human volunteers.
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 humans, could do this faster.
Even after six months of training, three of the students failed to catch up to the three young chimps, Matsuzawa said.
Matsuzawa and colleague Sana Inoue report the complete results of their tests in Tuesday's issue of the science journal "Current Biology".
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