When humans compare a picture with reality, it's often necessary to fill in information that is missing in the picture. For instance, how do we know that a person in a picture is running, as opposed to being frozen in a position?
How do we know that that bright orange thing on Donald Duck is a beak? How do we recognize the motif of pictures we have never seen before? The answer is: we interpret.
Many animals have no trouble recognizing the content of realistic pictures, such as photographs, but can they relate a picture to reality in such a way that they can recognize a drawing? The answer is yes, with reservation.
This is shown by Tomas Persson in his dissertation Pictorial Primates - A Search for Iconic Abilities in Great Apes, which will be publicly defended on February 22.
A review of previous research shows that there are many ways for animals to understand the relation between a picture and reality, but it is only the special case when they understand that the picture represents reality that the picture is being interpreted by being placed it in its proper context and having the missing information filled in.
The conclusion from Tomas Persson's many years of studying gorillas at Givskud Zoo in Denmark is that it is not easy to teach an ape to relate a picture to reality.
"However, it is unclear whether this is a matter of the training method or the capacity of the apes," says Tomas Persson.
This is because he also found that language-trained bonobos at Great Ape Trust of Iowa in the U.S. can readily name simple non-realistic images that they have never seen before.
"This is the most promising evidence yet that you don't have to have a human brain to understand pictures as representations. But many studies remain to be done before we will know the extent of this ability in apes. A further question for the future is whether the language training the bonobos have had is the direct reason behind their ability to understand images," says Tomas Persson.
Research on the thinking of apes, which is an expanding field internationally, will be placed on a new footing in Sweden as well, with the research station that cognitive scientists from Lund University are helping establish at Furuvik Zoo in Gävle, Sweden. Since humans share ancestors with today's great apes, this research is important not only for our understanding of cognition as a general biological phenomenon but also for our understanding of the evolution of human thinking. Tomas Persson's dissertation is hopefully only the first in a long series on this theme in Swedish research.
Tomas Persson will publicly defend his thesis Pictorial Primates-A Search for Iconic Abilities in Great Apes on February 22, at 10:15 a.m. at Kungshuset Hall 104, Lundagård, Lund.For more information: Tomas Persson: Tomas.Persson@lucs.lu.se / phone: 46+ (0)46-222 85 88; cell phone: +46 (0)73-6946085; Cognition Science: www.lucs.lu.se
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences