Believe It Or Not - Monkeys Know When They Don’t Know Something

Anil Singh - Dec 06, 2019


Believe It Or Not - Monkeys Know When They Don’t Know Something

Monkeys seem smarter than you might think: they also have a self-cognitive system.

Strangely odd as it might be, animals are unable to know when they don't know something. The far-searching research conducted by scientists from Yale and Harvard unveils this information. The findings are spontaneously published in the journal of “Psychological Science."

Smartphone Monkey

Metacognition is the possibility of recognizing one’s reflective and cognitive state. For example, a game show on TV suggests participants' two options complete their tasks. The first choice is to “phone a friend or a relative” and another is to risk it all. As a contestant, that person is obliged to make a final decision on only one option because they self-reflect themselves if they are willing to answer the question or not. Indeed, humans honestly know when they need to depend on the search giant Google. In other words, human beings own a self-cognitive system - Metacognition. 

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Human’s closest animal relatives, rhesus monkeys do, too. Previously, some animals were confirmed that they knew when they didn’t know, provided they were accustomed to confronting those problems in the long run. Doing something different, Alexandra Rosati - a leading scientist majoring in evolutionary biology at Harvard and her collaborator named Santos carried out a test of cognition for more than 120 monkeys.

Specifically, researchers created a structure composed of 2 V-shape cylinders in which they prepared the food for all monkeys. Consequently, it happened in two cases. Once was some monkeys saw the place the food was inside and they then swiftly ran to the spot for food. Another was that monkeys didn’t see which cylinders the food was, they ran to the junction of the structure so that they checked the food out prior to being in search of their target.  

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To deepen the situation, scientists presented a single tube with the idea of being approached by monkeys which were on the hot potato. However, monkeys rarely did so, even when they encountered not to successfully search for food. All showcased that monkeys recognized the uncertainty of additional information given to distract them. Furthermore, this study also showed that monkeys took advantage of their own knowledge to find the food out.

Briefly stated, ‘think about thinking” is a ubiquitous sign of cognitive state that human beings never give it a question. It exists to provoke our ability to understand everything continuously. Like humans, animals as rhesus monkeys own metacognition so that they can survive in the wildlife. A behavior of knowing uncertainty and certainty also guides a species to overcome a ton of difficulties over a long time.

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