Thursday, 17 September 2015

Watching Chimpanzees watching a film

The Guardian report on some interesting researchwhich suggests a way of better understanding the minds of the great apes. (Gorilla thriller: scientists direct short movies for apes)

Researchers made a couple of short films involving humans and a human dressed as a gorilla. Thy showed the films to bonobos and chimpanzees and traced their eye movements,, when they first saw the film and when they were shown a very similar film 24 hours later.

The above picture is in the second showing of the film where the human attacks the gorilla with an axe. The man is about to reach for the axe and the red dot on the axe shows where the ape's eyes were looking, in anticipation  of the axe being picked up showing that they anticipated what was about to happen. However in the first film the position of the sword and axe were reversed so they must have been able to form a mental image which was not dependant on where thing were in the first film.

This research suggests ways of exploring something about how our ape cousins se and understand the world around them.

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