Chimps, like humans, remember movie scenes

Chimps, like humans, remember movie scenes

Chimps, like humans, remember movie scenes

Humans may not be unique in their ability to remember sequence of events in films, according to a new study that found chimps and bonobos can recall movie scenes and anticipate what takes place next.

Aside from humans, great apes (in this case, chimpanzees and bonobos) also remember events in films - and can anticipate what takes place in memorable scenes, researchers said.

Researchers at Kyoto University's Wildlife Research Centre adapted eye-tracking technology for the apes, enabling them to record how the apes were viewing various video clips.

"When shown a video for the second time, after a 24-hour delay, the apes clearly anticipated what was coming next," said first-author Fumihiro Kano.

"This demonstrates their ability to encode single-experience events into long-term memory," said Kano.

The team began by creating two series of short films, King Kong Attack and Revenge to King Kong, in which the apes are shown a familiar sort of environment where rather shockingly unfamiliar events take place.

For example in the first series, two doors are visible, but an attacking 'King Kong' (in reality, a researcher dressed in a Kong costume) only emerges from the right or left side.
Twenty-four hours later, when shown the film again, the apes' attention focused on the side they had seen previously, even before Kong emerged.

Previous studies in this area have been based on prior long-term training of apes.
"What makes our result unique is that the apes encoded the information after only one viewing," said Satoshi Hirata, a senior member of the team.

"This ability should help them avoid impending danger, interact socially, and navigate complex environments," said Hirata.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.

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