Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Shows It's More Than One, Two, Three For Rhesus Monkeys

Date:
January 10, 2000
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Animals can not only be taught to count, but actually understand the concept of numbers according to new research published in the January issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, published by the American Psychological Association.

Monkeys Trained to Recognize One Through Four Also Respond to Five Through Nine

Related Articles


(Washington, DC) --- Animals can not only be taught to count, but actually understand the concept of numbers according to new research published in the January issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, published by the American Psychological Association.

Columbia University psychologists Elizabeth M. Brannon, Ph.D. and Herbert S. Terrace, Ph.D. designed experiments to discern whether monkeys could learn rules for putting objects into categories and then apply those rules to a new set of objects.

In their study, the researchers created computer displays with one, two, three, or four abstract elements such as circles, ellipses, squares, or diamonds of varying size and color. Three monkeys were then trained to touch each display in numerical order -two in ascending order, one in descending order. Overtime the monkeys were trained on 35 different displays. The researchers then tested the monkeys on 150 new displays and their performance did not falter.

However, in order to determine whether the monkeys understood the relationship between the numbers (e.g., that four is greater than three), the researchers tested the monkeys again, this time using pairs of numbers the monkeys had never seen before - five, six, seven, eight, and nine.

In the first round of testing with the higher numbers, both monkeys who had been trained to respond in ascending numerical order ordered the new numbers correctly 75 percent of the time. In subsequent tests, during which correct answers where positively reinforced, all three monkeys responded correctly at a level above chance guessing.

"This is the first instances where we're seeing expertise developing in monkeys," says Dr. Terrace. "The results of these experiments provide compelling evidence that number is a meaningful dimension for rhesus monkeys."

The researchers also point out that these monkeys were trained on their ordering skills for approximately six months and estimated that it takes children learning numbers thousands of repetitions to master similar concepts. The researchers also found several performance similarities between monkeys and people on similar tasks. For example, the monkeys are more accurate and quicker to order pairs of numbers the further apart the numbers are - in other words, ordering three and nine is easier then ordering three and four for both humans and monkeys.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "New Study Shows It's More Than One, Two, Three For Rhesus Monkeys." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000110071130.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2000, January 10). New Study Shows It's More Than One, Two, Three For Rhesus Monkeys. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000110071130.htm
American Psychological Association. "New Study Shows It's More Than One, Two, Three For Rhesus Monkeys." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000110071130.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins