Academic journal article Science and Children

Monkeys and Learning

Academic journal article Science and Children

Monkeys and Learning

Article excerpt

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A new study suggests that monkeys appear to learn the same way humans do.

"Like humans, monkeys benefit enormously from being actively involved in learning instead of having information presented to them passively," says Nate Kornell, a University of California, Los Angeles, postdoctoral scholar in psychology and lead author of the study. "The advantage of active learning appears to be a fundamental property of memory in humans and nonhumans alike."

In the study, two rhesus macaque monkeys learned to place five photographs in a particular order. The photographs were displayed on a touch screen computer similar to those found on ATMs. When the monkeys pressed a correct photograph, a border appeared around it. When either monkey pressed all five photographs in the correct order, the monkey received a food reward.

In all, each monkey learned to order at least 18 separate series of photographs, which included items such as a fish, a human face, a building, a football field, and a flame from a match. The monkeys underwent three days of training before being tested.

In some of the training trials, the monkeys had to determine the correct order themselves, while in others, they had the option of receiving help by pushing an icon in the corner of the screen that caused the border of the correct photograph to flash. …

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