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
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences