Monkey See, Monkey Remember

THURSDAY April 28, 2011 -- Memory in monkeys and humans is more similar than previously believed, a new study says.

Experiments with rhesus monkeys showed that, like people, they have both recognition and recall memory. Recognition is the ability to identify something when you see it. Recall is the ability to remember things you've previously seen.

The study appears online April 28 in the journal Current Biology.

Recall memory, which is needed for planning and imagining, can enhance social behavior, navigation and other cognitive skills, according to the researchers.

The researchers found that the rhesus monkeys could reproduce simple shapes on a computer touch screen from memory. This finding "suggests that they might be able to recollect other types of information that would be useful to them in the wild," study author Benjamin Basile of Emory University, Atlanta, said in a journal news release.

"It's exciting to speculate that they may be able to recollect the appearance of monkeys they know, what favorite foods look like, or the path they would have to take to get to a water source," he added.

More information

The National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has more about the rhesus monkey.

Posted: April 2011


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