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Science

Chimpanzee Intelligence Largely Determined By Genetics 157

Posted by timothy
from the why-I'll-be-a-smart-monkey's-uncle dept.
As reported by National Geographic, intelligence in chimpanzees appears to be strongly heritable, according to research led by William Hopkins, a primatologist at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, who examined both genetic and environmental factors for a group of related chimpanzees with varying measured intelligence: To find out how much of that variability is due to genetics, Hopkins and his team assessed the cognitive abilities of 99 captive chimpanzees. They used a battery of 13 tests measuring various manifestations of intelligence, such as how the animals dealt with the physical world, reacted to sound, and used tools. The group of chimps tested had an expansive family tree, ranging from full siblings to fourth and fifth cousins. This allowed the researchers to calculate how well scores on cognitive traits aligned with genetic relatedness. Two categories of tasks were significantly heritable: those related to spatial cognition, such as learning physical locations, and those that required social cognition, such as grabbing a person's attention. Some chimps are quite clever, making kissing sounds or clapping their hands to draw an experimenter's attention, Hopkins said. "This one is a real measure of intelligence and innovative behavior."
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Chimpanzee Intelligence Largely Determined By Genetics

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @06:45PM (#47439963)

    Psychology, still reeling from its failure in the once fashionable fields phrenology and eugenics, has returned with a handful of tests which can be weighted in way the scientist pleases to determine how much intelligence is heritable.

    And today it's "about half".

    (Related chimps have insignificant environmental similarities too, of course. But that's by the bye.)

    It really is a dismal discipline.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @07:11PM (#47440097)

    You'll have to do some diging, because I don't remember where I saw it... but they now understand why they are so good at that kind of task. It has to do with "working memory" and some other kind of memory that we're good at. I forget which, but having working memory that good would actually hinder us. The chimps have their plan DONE in their mind when they start pressing buttons. They do not need to be able to see the numbers anymore, because they no longer matter. The chimp saw the numbers, decided a course of action and executed. Humans on the other hand decide what to do for each key press. We make a new judgement call and continue. This is what makes us so creative. If something were to happen to the numbers, like they get rearranged we'd still be about as good. It's just as much work for us to deal with the new state as the old. The chimps on the other hand would have to stat over. This is, at least how I remember it. I'd research if you're really interested.

  • by Suiggy (1544213) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @07:12PM (#47440101)

    Funny how it's social justice warrior types such as yourself that exude the most hatred and malcontent for others. Quite the paradox.

  • by Suiggy (1544213) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @07:14PM (#47440107)

    Mass education isn't about making the masses of goyim more equal or intelligent. It's about breaking them away from the authority of their parents, selling them the opiate of "equality" and making them serve the will and authority of the modern state. It helps to increase tax revenues, thus enriching the elite. Nothing more or less.

    Now serve your masters, goy.

  • by TheMeuge (645043) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @07:20PM (#47440133)

    I'll feed this troll.

    ...we're lead to believe with enough money for education everyone can be intelligent!

    Appropriate general education ensures that we all have a chance to get to a certain level. Surely some people are more intelligent than others at baseline, but like most characteristics it needs to be exercised and developed... in the absence of education, it's easy to waste what you were born with, and that's what general education tries to prevent - the waste of intelligence. The other important role of education is to ensure that no matter what your level of education, you receive instruction sufficient to let you integrate into society.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @08:01PM (#47440289)

    So this is how scientists research intelligence without hurting the feelings of people who believe everyone on the planet is as smart (individually or collectively) as everyone else on the planet. They study chimps. They publish their results. Left unmentioned is whether their conclusions might have parallels for the human race, but the fact that they specifically studied the acknowledged closest-related species says it for them. After all, drugs are developed by testing much further-removed animals like rats, and it's a process that seems to work great.

    If these scientists had tried to study intelligence in humans, well, let's just say they'd have been doing it on their own dime, and their results would have been largely dismissed.

  • Re:This just in! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by am 2k (217885) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:32PM (#47440865) Homepage

    His father was an electrical engineer, but maybe he knew that a single data point is irrelevant in statistics.

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