UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A new study shows that monkeys outperform humans in a test designed to measure cognitive flexibility.
The experiment, conducted by psychologists from Georgia State University, included humans against Capuchin and Rhesus Macaque monkeys.
The two groups were asked to interact with a touch computer, with four squares of different patterns inside.
Monkeys OUTSMART humans in problem solving exercise to win food in test of cognitive flexibility https://t.co/nwlVg8gAoj
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) October 18, 2019
When the squares are pressed in the correct sequence, a triangle will appear instead of one of the squares, where it will result in a reward.
For monkeys, the reward was “banana pieces,” while the human reward included a mark on points collected.
Humans can get stuck doing things "the way we've always done it" & miss out on easier solutions. Capuchins and rhesus monkeys don't. Find out more in our newest paper on cognitive shortcut use out in @SciReports! w/ @SezDoesScience & SF Brosnan @CogSciGSU https://t.co/uzYfH6yNfM pic.twitter.com/T7T40uA03g
— julia_watzek.py (@watzoever) September 13, 2019
To test the participants’ flexibility in the cognitive process, researchers began to introduce the triangle to the screen from the beginning. They found that monkeys were more likely to know the fact that they could get the reward by simply touching the triangle, according to a report published in LiveScience.
The participants insisted humans first press the squares in the original sequence, before pressing the triangle.
Overall, 70% of the monkeys found that they could squeeze the triangle and skip the squares.
“I think we get less surprised when monkeys sometimes beat humans,” said Julia Watzk, a graduate researcher at the University of Georgia. There may be social and evolutionary reasons for preferring a harsh approach to problem solving.
“It is interesting to think of ways to train our children to think in a certain way and stay in the box, not outside. There are good reasons for doing certain things, but I think sometimes this can lead to a lot of trouble.”
Many different primate species showed the ability for advanced and dynamic intelligence.
Earlier this year, researchers documented how baboons and other “old world” monkeys were able to combine different call sounds in ways that could convey more specific meanings.
In Sierra Leone, researchers have also discovered that forcing chimpanzees out of protected areas has compelled them to adapt to human developments in a number of ways, including how to cross safely and the best times to visit humans.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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