View Full Version : Chimpanzees beat humans at visual memory tests

03-12-07, 19:24
BBC News : Chimps beat humans in memory test (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7124156.stm)

Chimpanzees have an extraordinary photographic memory that is far superior to ours, research suggests.

Young chimps outperformed university students in memory tests devised by Japanese scientists.

The tasks involved remembering the location of numbers on a screen, and correctly recalling the sequence.

The findings, published in Current Biology, suggest we may have under-estimated the intelligence of our closest living relatives.

Until now, it had always been assumed that chimps could not match humans in memory and other mental skills.

Chimps performed much better than university students in speed and accuracy when the numbers appeared only briefly on screen.

The shortest time duration, 210 milliseconds, did not leave enough time for the subjects to explore the screen by eye movement - something we do all the time when we read.

This is evidence, the researchers believe, that young chimps have a photographic memory which allows them to memorise a complex scene or pattern at a glance. This is sometimes present in human children but declines with age, they say.

Amazing, isn't it ? Well, of course that is only for short-term memory. I am pretty sure that bigger brains are better at long-term memory. That is why animals like elephants, camels or dolphins (with a bigger brain than humans) have an exceptional long-term memory.