Navigation Links
Monkey recall memory mirrors that of humans
Date:4/28/2011

A new study shows for the first time that monkeys can recall and reproduce simple shapes from memory. Identifying this recall ability is critical to our understanding of the evolution of memory and other cognitive abilities, and it could be applied to better diagnosing and treating memory impairments in humans.

The finding by Emory University psychologists and Yerkes National Primate Research Center researchers Ben Basile and Robert Hampton was published today (April 28) in the journal Current Biology. The psychologists developed a computer touchscreen method to test the recall power of rhesus monkeys at the Yerkes Research Center at Emory.

"Our observations of recall in Old World monkeys suggest it may have been adaptive in primates long before humans evolved, and that it does not depend on language or anything else that is uniquely human," Basile says.

"We believe we have found a new method for testing animals that opens a whole new window into the world of nonhuman memory research," Basile adds. "For the first time, monkeys can actually show us what they recollect, and their test results are directly comparable to human tests."

Such human tests may include reciting a poem or sketching the face of someone you met yesterday. These are recall tasks because they require retrieving information about something that isn't present. Recognition, in contrast, demonstrates the ability to detect that something is familiar when it is seen again.

In humans, recognition and recall tests can be supported by two different types of memory. This difference is most clearly seen in some rare cases of amnesia, where patients can easily recognize objects that are before them but have lost the ability to recall those same objects when they are out of sight.

Previous research has established the ability of monkeys and many other animals to recognize objects. The lack of language, however, has thwarted efforts to test recall in nonhumans.

The Emory researchers overcame the language barrier by teaching the rhesus monkeys to "draw." The monkeys were shown simple two- and three-box shapes on a computer screen. Later, they were presented with a computer touchscreen that allowed them to recreate those shapes by touching the corresponding areas of a grid. The monkeys learned through trial and error that reproducing the shapes they had seen previously would bring a food reward. Once trained, the monkeys were able to transfer their memory skills to novel shapes.

The performance of the monkeys on the computer touchscreen paralleled that of humans using the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test, a standard human recall test, in which subjects draw a complicated shape from memory.

"Humans certainly recall more complex and sophisticated things over longer time periods," Basile says. "But we've shown that for simple shapes, monkeys have a pattern of performance for recognition and recall that mirrors that of humans. And their ability to immediately transfer their performance to new shapes suggests we're tapping into some general cognitive capacity. With this type of information, we are moving closer to better diagnosing and developing treatments for memory impairments in humans," Basile continues.

Different types of memory may have evolved to solve distinct problems. Recognizing something as familiar, for instance, is quick and might allow for rapid responses to sightings of food and predators. Recollecting absent information is slower, but supports a more detailed and flexible use of memory. The authors speculate that recollection might help monkeys return to out-of-sight places where they previously found food, or to flexibly plan social interactions with other monkeys based on previous behavior.


'/>"/>

Contact: Beverly Clark
beverly.clark@emory.edu
404-712-8780
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Beyond ooh-ooh, aah-aah-- expert on monkey communication kicks off Darwin series, May 5
2. Bolivian rainforest study suggests feeding behavior in monkeys and humans have ancient, shared roots
3. New monkey discovered in Brazil
4. Monkey brains signal the desire to explore
5. Like humans, monkeys fall into the uncanny valley
6. Toxicants detected in Asian monkey hair may warn of environmental threats to people and wildlife
7. New research reveals threat to monkey numbers from forest decline
8. Baby monkeys receive signals through their mothers breast milk
9. Experimental vaccine protects monkeys against chikungunya
10. Yellow fever strikes monkey populations in South America
11. A howling success: The fifth howler monkey census on Barro Colorado Island
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... --> --> Competitive Landscape ... Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems ... market and the continuing migration crisis in the ... has led visiongain to publish this unique report, which is ... & security companies in the border security market and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... N.J. , May 4, 2016  Bayer ... its oncology compound Stivarga ® (regorafenib) tablets ... carcinoma (HCC) has met its primary endpoint of ... study, called RESORCE, evaluated the efficacy and safety ... has progressed after treatment with sorafenib. The safety ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Nutrafol®, a first-to-market ... treat hormonal and stress related hair loss. With patent-pending formulas for both female ... opinion leaders in the medical and salon channels nationwide. , Dermatologists, Plastic ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... Leading CEOs from ... May 31st and June 1st at The Four Seasons Hotel Boston. , The ... life sciences, offering exclusive access to key decision makers who influence deal making ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016 - And Other ... Producers of Those Competitor Biologics  - Biosimilar ... and Prospects ,  Who are the most ... what are their sales potentials? Discover, in our updated ... trends, opportunities and revenue forecasting. Visiongain,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: