Menu
Scientific developments
NASA's WISE Mission Captures Black Hole's Wildly Flaring Jet

Climatic Fluctuations Drove Key Events in Human Evolution, Researchers Find

Researchers Discover How 'Promiscuous Parasites' Hijack Host Immune Cells

Using Human Genomes to Illuminate the Mysteries of Early Human History

Carnivorous Plant Inspires Coating That Resists Just About Any Liquids

From the Comfort of Home, Web Users May Have Found New Planets

Aquarium Fishes Are More Aggressive in Reduced Environments, New Study Finds

Bioengineers Reprogram Muscles to Combat Degeneration

Asia Was Settled in Multiple Waves of Migration, DNA Study Suggests

Some Brain Wiring Continues to Develop Well Into Our 20s

Evolutionary Tree of Life for Mammals Greatly Improved

Nitrate Levels Rising in Northwestern Pacific Ocean

Nanoscale Nonlinear Light Source Optical Device Can Be Controlled Electronically

Cloaking Magnetic Fields: First Antimagnet Developed

Nature Offers Key Lessons On Harvesting Solar Power, Say Chemists

Monkeys Also Reason Through Analogy, Study Shows

Invasion of Genomic Parasites Triggered Modern Mammalian Pregnancy, Study Finds

Jumping Gene Enabled Key Step in Corn Domestication

Salty Water and Gas Sucked Into Earth's Interior Helps Unravel Planetary Evolution

People Learn While They Sleep, Study Suggests

New Technique Maps Twin Faces of Smallest Janus Nanoparticles

New 'FeTRAM' Is Promising Computer Memory Technology

Hide-And-Seek: Altered HIV Can't Evade Immune System

Scientists Reveal Molecular Sculptor of Memories

Correcting Sickle Cell Disease With Stem Cells

Monkeys Also Reason Through Analogy, Study Shows
Recognizing relations between relations is what analogy is all about. What lies behind this ability? Is it uniquely human? A study carried out by Joël Fagot of the Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive (CNRS/Université de Provence) and Roger Thompson of the Franklin & Marshall College (United States) has shown that monkeys are capable of making analogies.

A cat takes care of a kitten and a bird feeds fledglings: although the context is different, these two situations are similar and we can conclude that both cases involve a mother and its offspring. For a long time researchers believed that this type of analogical reasoning was impossible without language and that it was restricted to humans or, at best, great apes that had been taught a language. However, two scientists, Joël Fagot of the Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive (CNRS/Université de Provence) and Roger Thompson of the Franklin & Marshall College in the United States, have demonstrated that monkeys are capable of making analogies without language.

The two researchers carried out their experiment on 29 baboons (Papio papio) of variable ages, which could freely perform the proposed exercise (this represents a large number of animals for this type of experiment). First of all, the baboons were shown two geometric shapes on a touch screen, for example two squares. After they touched one of these shapes, two other pairs of shapes appeared on the screen, such as: a triangle and a star for the first pair and two identical ovals for the second pair. To successfully complete the exercise and be rewarded, the animal had to touch the pair representing the same relation (of identity or difference) as the initial pair (here, the two ovals).

In other words, the baboon had to detect relations between relations, which is the definition of analogy. After an intensive learning period covering several thousand tests, 6 baboons correctly performed the task, thus demonstrating an ability to resolve analogy problems. Furthermore, the researchers suspended the task for nearly one year before proposing it again to the baboons. The animals re-learnt the task much faster than during the initial training, which shows that they remembered the situation.

This work therefore shows that language is not necessary to analogy. But how can animals use this skill? This adaptive ability, especially useful to the monkey, could in particular serve in the transfer of knowledge from one field to another.

superiorpapers reviews

First Comet Found With Ocean-Like Water

Laser Light Used to Cool Object to Quantum Ground State

Biologists Find 'Surprising' Number of Unknown Viruses in Sewage

Long-Lost Lake Agassiz Offers Clues to Climate Change

Series of Bumps Sent Uranus Into Its Sideways Spin, New Research Suggests

Venus Has an Ozone Layer Too, Space Probe Discovers

Supersaturated Water Vapor in Martian Atmosphere

Is Chivalry the Norm for Insects?

Crab Pulsar Beams Most Energetic Gamma Rays Ever Detected from a Pulsar

Subtly Shaded Map of Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

Ancient Climate Change Has Left a Strong Imprint On Modern Ecosystems

Astrophysics and Extinctions: News About Planet-Threatening Events

Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs


Menu
Easily Embarrassed? Study Finds People Will Trust You More

Stardust Discovered in Far-Off Planetary Systems

Galaxy Caught Blowing Bubbles

Sharks Are in Trouble, New Analysis Confirms

Engineers 'Cook' Promising New Heat-Harvesting Nanomaterials in Microwave Oven

NASA Space Telescope Finds Fewer Asteroids Near Earth

Scientists Release Most Accurate Simulation of the Universe to Date

'Superfast' Muscles Responsible for Bat Echolocation

Space Telescopes Reveal Secrets of Turbulent Black Hole

'Alarm Clock' Gene Explains Wake-Up Function of Biological Clock

Mechanism Uncovered for the Establishment of Vertebrate Leftright Asymmetry

Astronomers Reveal Supernova Factory

Reefs Recovered Faster After Mass Extinction Than First Thought

Gravitational Waves That Are 'Sounds of the Universe'

Decline and Recovery of Coral Reefs Linked to 700 Years of Human and Environmental Activities

Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Loss Last Winter

'Mirage-Effect' Helps Researchers Hide Objects

Electricity from the Nose: Engineers Make Power from Human Respiration

Natural Compound Helps Reverse Diabetes in Mice

Physicists Move One Step Closer to Quantum Computer

Pumice Proposed as Home to the First Life Forms

Arctic Sea Ice Continues Decline, Hits Second-Lowest Level

Sociability May Depend Upon Brain Cells Generated in Adolescence

Last Universal Common Ancestor More Complex Than Previously Thought

Monkeys 'Move and Feel' Virtual Objects Using Only Their Brains