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REX3_U10_Chimp Memory
2018/10/10 18:49
Reading Explorer 3, Unit 10: Chimp Memory 


Narrator: Researchers in Japan are finding that chimpanzee memory is sometimes more accurate than humans. 


When it comes to intelligence, most people, including biologists, believe humans are superior to chimpanzees. 


But Dr. Tetsuro Matsuzawa has concluded that young chimpanzees perform better in some memory tasks than humans. 


He has been working with a group of 6 chimpanzees, 3 mothers and their offspring- at the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University. 


He taught them to recognize the order of numbers 1 through 9 and how to use a touch screen monitor.   


For the memory test the chimps and humans were presented with various numbers - and those numbers were replaced with blank white squares.  The test subject’s job was to remember which number appeared in which location and touch the squares in the appropriate order.  


The young chimpanzees could memorize many numbers at a glance and had no change in performance when the numbers were shown for a shorter period of time. They were rewarded with a raisin or piece of apple. 


Humans, on the other hand, were slower than all 3 of the young chimpanzees in their response. They were also less accurate when the test was sped up. 


Matsuzawa believes the chimps memory ability is related to eidetic imagery—otherwise known as photographic memory. This skill is present in some human children as well.   


Dr. Matsuzawa speculates that humans and chimps probably once shared this skill, but humans lost it because they gained something else, complex language. 
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