Summarily Flogged by a Chimp

From Lumosity Brain Games:

Are you as smart as a chimp?

Ayumu is a 7-year-old chimpanzee... Can you beat Ayumu in this memory test?

Inoue and Matsuzawa from Kyoto University used the 'limited-hold memory task' to show that their chimps can out-perform college students. Watch Ayumu, then take the test... to see if your memory is as good as a chimp's!

The chimp handed me my ass in this test.



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I beat the chimp!

I also managed to beat the chimp, on the fifth try. I find it strange that they let three students practice for 6 months, and still they didn't exceed 80%. Maybe they weren't motivated enough - as in $X is to a student what apple sauce is to a chimp, where $X is more than the researchers can afford... or maybe they weren't paid proportionally to their performance, as Mayumu was. If this were an olympic sport then I think we would see close to 100% human performance.

Though we tried to make this game resemble the original test as closely as possible (210ms presentation, random placement on 5x8 grid, etc), an important difference is the size of the screen. The presentation to the college students occupied a larger swath of the visual field, which would make the task more difficult - perhaps in a way that favors chimps.

I appreciate your point, Michael Scanlon, but the fact is that the chimps are in fact kicking human ass. That there are exceptions is routine.

I cannot help but see your argument, re the size of the screen, as a bit disingenuous. Now, I could be wrong, but I would wager that the ability of chimps, as demonstrated to a reasonable degree by these tests, is directly translatable in terms of survival. If not, it is probably translatable in terms of engaging the primate mind in the minutiae of the physical world. This secondary engagement certainly has survival value, if one thinks about it for a moment.

By Crudely Wrott (not verified) on 31 Jan 2008 #permalink