Agriculture
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Salamanders
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
How to Silence a Cricket
Stunts for High-Diving Ants
Dolphin Sponge Moms
Behavior
Diving, Rolling, and Floating, Alligator Style
Copycat Monkeys
Double take
Birds
Cranes
Carnivorous Birds
Tropical Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Screaming for Ice Cream
Nanomagnets Corral Oil
Computers
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Galaxies on the go
Play for Science
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Fossil Fly from Antarctica
Dinosaurs Grow Up
Dino Babies
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Killer Space Rock Snuffed Out Ancient Life
Coral Islands Survive a Tsunami
Meteorites may have sparked life on Earth
Environment
Swimming with Sharks and Stingrays
Where rivers run uphill
Seabirds Deliver Arctic Pollutants
Finding the Past
The Puzzle of Ancient Mariners
Stone Age Sole Survivors
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Fish
Bass
Marlin
Seahorses
Food and Nutrition
Chew for Health
The Essence of Celery
Food for Life
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Prime Time for Cicadas
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Human Body
Disease Detectives
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
Nature's Medicines
Invertebrates
Squid
Moths
Ticks
Mammals
Bulldogs
Sphinxes
Domestic Shorthairs
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
Road Bumps
Speedy stars
The Particle Zoo
Plants
Farms sprout in cities
A Giant Flower's New Family
Bright Blooms That Glow
Reptiles
Snakes
Gila Monsters
Anacondas
Space and Astronomy
Cousin Earth
A Moon's Icy Spray
Ready, Set, Supernova
Technology and Engineering
Shape Shifting
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Pronouns
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Ready, unplug, drive
Robots on a Rocky Road
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
A Dire Shortage of Water
Catching Some Rays
Add your Article

Monkey Math

You add like a monkey. No, really. Recent experiments with rhesus macaques suggest that monkeys do high-speed addition in much the same way as people do. Duke University researchers Elizabeth Brannon and Jessica Cantlon tested college students' ability to add numbers as quickly as possible without counting. The researchers compared the students' performance with that of rhesus macaques taking the same test. Both the monkeys and the students typically answered in about a second. And their test scores weren't all that different. The scientists say that their findings support the idea that some forms of mathematical thinking use an ancient skill, one that people share with their nonhuman ancestors. "These data are very good for telling us where our sophisticated human minds came from," says Cantlon. The research is an "important milestone," says animal-math researcher Charles Gallistel of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., because it sheds light on how the ability to do math developed. Monkeys aren't the only nonhuman animals with math skills. Previous experiments have shown that rats, pigeons, and other creatures also have some kinds of abilities to do rough calculations, says Gallistel. In fact, his research suggests that pigeons can even do a form of subtraction (see It's a Math World for Animals.) Brannon says she wanted to come up with a math test that would work for both adult humans and monkeys. Previous experiments were good at testing monkeys, but they didn't work as well for people. In one such experiment, for example, Harvard University researchers put some lemons behind a screen as a monkey watched. Then, as the monkey continued to observe, they put a second group of lemons behind the screen. When the researchers lifted the screen, monkeys saw either the correct sum of the two groups of lemons or an incorrect sum. (To reveal incorrect sums, the researchers added lemons when the monkeys weren't looking.) When the sum was incorrect, the monkeys seemed surprised: They stared longer at the lemons, suggesting they were expecting a different answer. An experiment such as this is a good way to test toddlers' math skills, but not the most effective way to measure such skills in adults. So Brannon and Cantlon developed a computer-based addition test, which both people and monkeys (after some training) could do. First, one set of dots flashed on a computer screen for a half-second. A second set of dots appeared after a short delay. Finally the screen showed two boxed sets of dots, one representing the correct sum of the previous sets of dots and the other displaying an incorrect sum. To respond to the test, subjects, which included 2 female rhesus macaque monkeys and 14 college students, had to tap a box on the screen. The researchers recorded how often the monkeys and students tapped the box with the correct sum. The students were told to tap as quickly as possible, so that they wouldn't have the advantage of counting out an answer. (Students were also told not to count the dots.) In the end, the students beat the monkeys–but not by much. The humans were right about 94 percent of the time; the macaques averaged 76 percent. Both the monkeys and the students made more mistakes when the two sets of answers differed by only a few dots. The study only measured the ability to approximate sums, and people are still better than animals at complicated math problems. In other words, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to hire a monkey as a math tutor!—Agnieszka Biskup

Monkey Math
Monkey Math








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™