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Author Topic: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?  (Read 4472 times)

Offline thedoc

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Faraone family  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I assume there are "genius"  level animals just as there in Humankind?

Is it possible that a genius primate in an ape family might have intelligence equal to what level of human ?  (retarded child, idiot or moron or whatever terms now used).  
 
Rob Faraone ( Singapore )

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/06/2012 06:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2012 08:17:14 »
It may not be such a good idea to assume that only members of the ape family have cognitive abilities.
 
Shona, our Scottish Terrier, started making a very strange "bird like" yipping sound this afternoon. I've never heard her make a sound anything like that before.
 
She was looking up, and when I looked up, a pair of bald eagles were circling right above the house. Her call was obviously a danger sign, but how she knew the eagles were a potential danger, I have not the foggiest clue.
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2012 18:16:00 »
I don't think you can compare genius in humans with genius in other species.

'Genius' and the level of 'intellegence' are relative. A Dolphin doesn't need to know how to play Bach or Beefoven. But can you sing the song that oOOoooOooOoooOooOO made up? No you can't. Therefore, perhaps to a Dolphin you aren't so clever.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #3 on: 15/06/2012 19:46:26 »
can you beat the chimp*  ? ...

[* not a euphemism ]

« Last Edit: 15/06/2012 19:49:44 by RD »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #4 on: 16/06/2012 13:05:05 »
Imagine there's some nice fruit at the top of a tree.
At the foot of the tree there are some hungry creatures. A human, an elephant a chimp and a crow.
The crow can fly up and get the fruit, the chimp can climb up, the elephant can push the tree over, and (unless there's an axe or something) the human stays hungry.

Which is the most intelligent creature?
The problem is that intelligence is very hard to define.

Incidentally, babies are cleverer than adults in at least two ways.
The obvious one is how well they learn.
The other is an observation that I read about ages ago but never really found an explanation for.
If you show pictures of the faces of very young babies to adults, the adults can't tell the boys from the girls.
If you show the same pictures to babies, they look at the pictures for a while and then look away - presumably they get bored- but they look at pictures of babies that are the same sex as themselves for significantly longer than they look at babies of the opposite sex.
Nobody knows why (there's not much point asking the babies) and also, nobody knows how they can tell the difference.

If we have that little understanding of our own abilities then I think it's unrealistic to try to judge other animals.

 

Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #5 on: 16/06/2012 13:06:10 »
If you were to refer to cognition as information processing then there are many animals that must exceed human abilities.

 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #6 on: 18/06/2012 00:12:04 »
Certainly dogs and pets can become masters of manipulation.

Horses can learn to judge the competence, and perhaps the emotional state of their riders very quickly.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #7 on: 19/06/2012 00:10:29 »
... Horses can learn to judge ...

Sometimes the horse (or other animal) isn't quite as smart as they appear ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #8 on: 19/06/2012 05:29:59 »
... Horses can learn to judge ...
Sometimes the horse (or other animal) isn't quite as smart as they appear ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans
And...  even if the horse couldn't truly add, it is still extraordinary that the horse could learn to sense the answer from the horse trainer, or perhaps the crowd or observers.  I still think that Clever Hans was quite clever.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #9 on: 19/06/2012 21:46:00 »
I've seen the Clever Hans effect with dogs, e.g. ...

They ask Fido an arithmetic question, Fido starts barking and doesn't stop until it gets some cue from its owner to stop barking when it has given the correct* answer, (e.g. owner reaching for food reward, or some other gesture).

( * or what the owner thinks is the correct answer ).
« Last Edit: 19/06/2012 21:54:49 by RD »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #10 on: 20/06/2012 00:42:53 »
PBS Nova had a special, How smart are dogs?

Chaser recognizes about 1000 toys by name, apparently without cues from the owner.  Chaser was also about to learn a "new" toy, with his first exposure, by eliminating everything he knows.  One thing they talk about in the show is "social intelligence" that dogs seem to be very good at.  I.E.  they pay close attention to humans, and love playing with people.
« Last Edit: 20/06/2012 00:44:46 by CliffordK »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #11 on: 20/06/2012 02:24:42 »
can you beat the chimp*  ? ...

Most extraordinary.

Undoubtedly the chimp had much more practice than the 10 yr olds. 

How good would a college student get if given 40 hours practice, and appropriate motivation?

Could they add more complex math for the chimps?

1:  :)
2:  :):)
3:  :):):)
4:  :):):):)
5:  :):):):):)
6:  :):):):):):)

etc.  match the smiles to the number.

:):):) + 2 = 5

What about teaching the chimp numbers greater than 10?  Perhaps choose a smaller base such as base 5.  The big leap in learning is if one only teaches some of the possible combinations, but the animal/chimp can generalize.  So, never present all the number combinations from 1 to 100...  then test with some unique numbers combinations.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Offline RD

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #13 on: 20/06/2012 10:20:12 »
can you beat the chimp*  ? ...

Most extraordinary.

Undoubtedly the chimp had much more practice than the 10 yr olds. 

My money would be on innate photographic memory rather than practice.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #14 on: 20/06/2012 19:27:50 »
My money would be on innate photographic memory rather than practice.
There have been studies in humans with chess pieces. 
Grand Masters can be better than ordinary non-players at remembering locations of pieces placed on the board, as long as the pieces are in "logical" positions, or legally arrived positions.  The performance drops when the pieces are randomly arranged.

Anyway, that chimp was quick, but I have no doubt that performance increases with practice & familiarity.

There used to be a game called Simon in which people would learn patterns of lights and sounds.  Some people would get very good at it with practice.

Perhaps we all have some elements of photographic short term memory.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #15 on: 20/06/2012 20:43:39 »
Anyway, that chimp was quick, but I have no doubt that performance increases with practice & familiarity.

Like the random (illegal) chess pattern, the hidden number test has no contextual clues and is a pattern never seen before: there is no “familiarity” for Chimpy to make the task easier with practice, which is why I’d vote for it being an innate ability.

 
 

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Re: Do clever animals exceed human cognitive abilities?
« Reply #15 on: 20/06/2012 20:43:39 »

 

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