05.11.11

Chimps can play videogames, demonstrate self-awareness

Researchers at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto have been testing the limits of chimp’s self-awareness by seeing if they can play games

One aspect of the self is known as self-agency — the feeling that we each control our own actions. To see if the ability existed in chimpanzees, humanity’s closest living relatives, scientists in Japan used a test developed for schizophrenia patients, who at times feel that they are not in control of their own actions, that they lack self-agency.

Three female adult chimpanzees were trained to move a white cursor on a touch screen by rolling a trackball. The aim was to hit green rectangular targets with the cursor.

The chimps demonstrate awareness 99% of the time. (This reminded me of the above clip of a chimp playing Pac-Man.)