Language, numbers and thought – Orwell & Monkeys

We report, you decide:
New Scientist Breaking News – Language may shape human thought

“Hunter-gatherers from the Pirahã tribe, whose language only contains words for the numbers one and two, were unable to reliably tell the difference between four objects placed in a row and five in the same configuration, revealed the study

Monkey Hear, Monkey Count

Rhesus monkeys possess a natural ability to match the number of voices they hear to the number of individuals they expect to see vocalizing, new research concludes. The results indicate that abstract representation of numbers is possible in the absence of language.
Writing in the June 7 Current Biology, Elizabeth Brannon of Duke University and her colleagues describe their experiment. The researchers played the monkeys “coo” calls made by either two or three unfamiliar conspecifics. They then let the monkeys watch their choice of video images showing either two or three animals. The vast majority of the monkeys selected video images that corresponded to the number of individuals heard on the audio sample. Each monkey was tested only once and did not receive a reward.

Now I want them to redo the monkey trial with 4 or 5 voices.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: