Monkeys Are Better At Problem-Solving Than Humans: Study
Fri, September 30, 2022

Monkeys Are Better At Problem-Solving Than Humans: Study


Humans and monkeys are usually compared to one another because experts claim they are so similar. But this time, a study has proven that, often, monkeys can be smarter than us. 

All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, reported that the study was confucted on humans and 29 monkeys, both rhesus and capuchin. All of them underwent an experiment where they were tested on how well they performed in a problem-solving computer game. The researchers found that monkeys were undeniably better in this skill compared to humans. 


Photo Credit: @watzoever on Twitter (via All That's Interesting)


Julia Watzek, the study’s co-author and a graduate student in psychology at Georgia State University, said, “We are a unique species and have various ways in which we are exceptionally different from every other creature on the planet. But we’re also sometimes really dumb.”


Photo Credit: @watzoever on Twitter (via All That's Interesting)


Both humans and monkeys were presented four squares on a screen: one striped, one spotted, and two blanks. They learned that a blue triangle – which produces a reward – would appear after clicking the striped square followed by the spotted square. However, the experiment showed that only the monkeys seemed to pick up on it. This shows that they have better “cognitive flexibility” or problem-solving ability, which humans lack. Meanwhile, humans took less time picking up the rules of the computer game than the monkeys.


Photo Credit: @watzoever on Twitter (via All That's Interesting)


The findings showed that 70 percent of the monkeys used the shortcut immediately after receiving the reward the first time it was shown to them. On the other hand, humans continued to repeat the same sequence and ignore the shortcut. “I am really surprised that the humans, a sizable portion…just keep using the same strategy,” Watzek said. 

The researchers concluded that the reason why humans stick to one known problem-solving strategy instead of searching for an alternative is due to the educational practices employed in Western educational systems. 



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