Monday, December 03, 2007

Are you smarter than a Chimpanzee?

There's a story on Yahoo News about a study that was done proclaiming that chimps have better memories than college students.

Like this is a surprise.

In the study, test subjects (human and primate) saw nine numbers displayed on a computer screen. When they touched the first number, the other eight turned into white squares. The test was to touch all these squares in the order of the numbers that used to be there. The study showed chimps could do this faster. And in follow-up tests, better.

I don't doubt it. I know Curious George could beat me. I can't remember what I had for lunch today, and the empty dish is sitting on my desk next to my monitor. In college, I seem to recall that the important things in my short term memory were the times the computer cluster was available, the quantity of beer we had available for the party this weekend, and the names on my fraternity family tree up to my big-big-big-big-brother. Who has time to memorize shiny boxes? That was before the age of the iPod, before the age of the Web, and before Doom and Halo. Now, with all the distractions of daily life, kids don't have a chance. Chimps have plenty more space in their brains to memorize things like this, because really the only other things a chimp needs to recall are when he last picked a bug from his mate's hair, and where to step to avoid the poo he threw earlier in the day.

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