Tokyo: The ability to remember sequence of events in a film may not be unique to humans as Japanese researchers have found that Chimpanzees and bonobos also remember events in films — and can anticipate what takes place in memorable scenes.
Researchers adapted eye-tracking technology for the apes, enabling the team to record how the apes were viewing various video clips.
“When shown a video for the second time, after a 24-hour delay, the apes clearly anticipated what was coming next,” explained study first author Fumihiro Kano from Kyoto University’s Wildlife Research Centre in Kyoto Japan.
“This demonstrates their ability to encode single-experience events into long-term memory,” Kano said.
The team began by creating two series of short films, “King Kong Attack” and “Revenge to King Kong”, in which the apes are shown a familiar sort of environment where rather shockingly unfamiliar events take place.
For example in the first series, two doors are visible, but an attacking ‘King Kong’ (in reality, a researcher dressed in a Kong costume) only emerges from the right or left side.
Twenty hours later, when shown the film again, the apes’ attention focused on the side they had seen previously, even before Kong emerged.
Previous studies in this area have been based on prior long-term training of apes.
“What makes our result unique is that the apes encoded the information after only one viewing,” senior member of the team Satoshi Hirata from Kyoto University said.
“This ability should help them avoid impending danger, interact socially, and navigate complex environments,” Hirata explained.
The study appeared in the journal Current Biology.