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Later on, after tests where answers were positively reinforced, all three monkeys responded correctly at a level above chance guessing.
Dr. Terrace says, "The results of these experiments provide compelling evidence that number is a meaningful dimension for rhesus monkeys."
It’s not unusual that tests such as these are also compared to results of rats and children. In this case, researchers pointed out that monkeys were trained on ordering skills for approximately six months. They also estimated that it took children learning numbers thousands of repetitions to master similar concepts.
The researchers also found several performance similarities between monkeys and people on comparable tasks. To explain, they say that monkeys are more accurate and quicker to order pairs of numbers further apart numbers are, in other words, ordering four and nine is easier than placing four and five for both humans and monkeys.
In my book I tell a story about how Paula, another foster mother for a Helping Hands monkey Emma, has taught her little charge to decipher colors. Paula used colored Easter eggs to help facilitate process. Paula bought a set of big plastic eggs and put a treat inside a particular color, say, blue egg. When she asked Emma to show her blue egg, if monkey was correct in her choice, she was allowed to procure treat inside. Emma learned all of primary colors in this way and even went on to learn to differentiate between a spoon, knife and fork.
Not too bad for a species we call a "lessor" primate!
Andrea Campbell lives with Ziggy, in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. She is author of BRINGING UP ZIGGY: What Raising A Helping Hands Monkey Taught Me About Love, Commitment, and Sacrifice. Visit her web site at: www.andreacampbell.com ###
Andrea Campbell lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, in the Ouachita Mountains. Andrea is the author of eight books on a variety of subjects including criminal justice, the law, primatology and entertaining and parties... Her website is located at andreacampbell.com