Monkeys ‘display self-doubt’ (via computer games)

A slightly strange headline yet it is true. Macaques monkeys trained to play a brainteaser game have shown that to a certain degree they have a concept of self-doubt and uncertainty – levels of awareness formally believed to be uniquely human.

As the BBC reports, Professor John David Smith, from the USA, carried out the study. The monkeys were taught to judge the density of a pixel box to be either sparse or dense. A treat was given for a correct answer, but a wrong answer meant being locked out the game for some time. A third option was introduced to skip the question with no penalty to move onto another potentially easier one.

More details on the testing and how the results of these old world monkeys compared to us humans and new world monkeys can be read here. There is also a video of the game in action. Next, the professor will hopefully test the morals of macaque monkeys. What would one do to handle the Wrex situation in Mass Effect or on what karma rating would it finish Fallout 3?

Time may tell.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

One comment

  1. KrazyFace /

    Really? Cor Science! Next you’ll be telling me dogs feel pain when you kick em’!

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