Monkey as math tutor for your kid!

Last Updated 22 April 2014, 10:15 IST

Go tell this to your kid who is throwing tantrums at learning maths. According to a new research, even monkeys have the ability to use numbers and symbols to add up.

The scientists from Harvard University taught three rhesus monkeys the values of 26 distinct symbols - the 10 Arabic numerals and 16 letters.

Each symbol was associated with zero to 25 drops of a reward of water, juice or orange soda.

Given the choice of two different symbols, the monkeys chose the symbol that represented the larger reward with up to 90 percent accuracy.

"The monkeys demonstrated the ability to not only differentiate between the symbols but also to add the values of two symbols at a time," said Margaret Livingstone, a neuroscientist at Harvard University's medical school.

The results suggest that the monkeys learned to distinguish the symbols and assign them specific values.

Monkeys estimated quantity based on relative value rather than absolute value.

This could give new insight into the evolutionary origins of our ability to count, the researchers added.

The team is now planning to see if the animals can multiply numbers too.

(Published 22 April 2014, 10:03 IST)

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