Here's an interesting clip from a National Geographic documentary that compares the way humans and chimpanzees learn. When asked to perform a series of motions in order to get a treat out of a box, the human child will copy the adult's motions exactly. The ape copies the motions as well, until the box is replaced with a translucent version. Once it is, the ape realizes that half of the motions are pointless and takes a shortcut to get the treat; children, on the other hand, continue to do the meaningless motions that they were taught.
According to the filmmakers, this illustrates how both humans and chimps learn through copying, but children are "better" at it. That very well may be. But shouldn't the chimps should be given props for problem-solving here?
Experiments like this always drive me a bit crazy because the social setup isn't exactly parallel. Children are being asked to copy other humans, whereas the apes are expected to follow a different species. Would children be as good at copying (or obeying) if chimps were the ones giving instructions?
Of course, even if chimps were asked to imitate older chimps, they probably wouldn't copy as precisely as the children, and that's ultimately the filmmakers' point. The children are able to see rote repetition as the point of a game whereas the chimp might only be able to grasp "getting the treat."
On Thursday May 26, Red Nose Day will return for the second year. It’s all about giving to children to fight hunger, sickness, and homelessness. In the video above, the most famous magician in the world, David Copperfield, has his own magical way of asking you to get involved. There’s going to be a two-hour TV show on […]
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]