Monday, February 16, 2009

One of these things is not like the others

Baboons And Pigeons Are Capable Of Higher-level Cognition, Behavioral Studies Show

One cognitive capacity that is vital to human intelligence is the ability to determine whether two or more items are the same or different - a skill the famous American psychologist William James called the very "backbone" of our thinking...

A recent study by Wasserman and UI graduate student Dan Brooks found that both pigeons and people can learn same-different discriminations with visual stimuli that never repeat from trial to trial, thus proving that simple memorization cannot explain this cognitive feat.

The study was designed to figure out if baboons and pigeons can play 'one of these things is not like the others'. How would they survive in the wild if they couldn't? We'd have way more extinct species if every-other-animal-but-humans couldn't figure out "same and different" on the fly. Seriously.

P.S. Same-different discriminations, superior self-recognition abilities than toddlers, remarkable adaptation skills, the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field, and willing to eat absolutely anything...
P.P.S. Holy crap, guys - Pigeons are like the genius love-children of cockroachs and twinkies!

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