Young Chimpanzees Have Better Memories Than College Students

Studies performed at Kyoto University suggest that young chimpanzees have memory skills better than those of adult humans.
When they touched the first digit, the others were replaced with white squares, and they had to rely on their memory to press the right sequence. The young chimps took to this task particularly well and amazingly, they finished the task more quickly than human adults...

When the numbers were flashed for two thirds of a second, Ayumu's skills were the equal of 6 university students who pressed the right sequence 80% of the time. If the numbers were displayed for just a fifth of a second, the students couldn't cope. They didn't have enough time to make a single saccade, the small eye flickers that we make when we scan a page or image. Without the luxury of exploring the screen, the students only answered accurately 40% of the time. Ayumu, on the other hand, wasn't fazed and maintained his earlier high scores.

The researchers also postulate that human children may have similar eidetic abilities when they are very young, but lose this capacity by the time they finish school.  Or something like that - I can't remember.


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I agree with the practice point. In behavioural studies such as this, it takes a long, long time to teach these skills to an animal.
When I tested the effects of MDMA on rats, it took 30 days of non-stop training for each rat to reach the stage where it would actually be tested and data gathered.
By the end of training, I imagine most of those rats would have performed better than students who had the task described to them and were expected to complete it right away.
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Yeah, I was about to say that: practice. The chimps they used have probably been doing these exercises a bit longer than the students and there's the fact that chimps are made for the wild and most college students haven't spent much time in that kind of situation. I'd like to see the results of this test when the chimps go head-to-head with some African bushmen or maybe some veteran soldiers.
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Or of practice. Chimps (in the wild, at least) must follow things quickly with their eyes. Sudden changes are very, very important. Not so much for taking notes in class.
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