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Study Shows Monkeys Like Watching TV 103

According to a Japanese study, monkeys are not immune to the siren call of the idiot box. It seems rhesus monkeys enjoy watching videos of circus animals. From the article: "The study found that when the monkey was witnessing the acrobatic performances of circus animals on a television screen, the frontal lobe area of its brain became vigorously active. The activity in such an area was significant in reflecting the monkey's pleasure, as the human equivalent is a neurological area associated with triggering delight in a baby when it sees the smile of its mother."
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Study Shows Monkeys Like Watching TV

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  • by dread ( 3500 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:11PM (#32603346)

    Hundreds of millions of monkeys are watching other monkeys chasing a ball on TV. And deriving pleasure from it presumably.

    • by nigelo ( 30096 )

      And deriving pleasure from it presumably.

      Whatever toots your horn...

      • ...top US TV shows are:

        American Idol

        Dancing with the Stars

        [name your reality show here]

        Looks like we're all monkeys here....but sadly, it appears the 'furrier' of the tv watching monkeys at least watch something entertaining.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Speak for yourself. :P
          I dont watch trashy reality tv series.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 )

      In our local zoo the chimps have a TV with Teletubbies on it....seriously.

      • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @01:15PM (#32604170) Journal

        Surely the monkey demographic explains the success of Reality TV. Perhaps it seems like science fiction to its biggest audience?

      • Re:And right now (Score:4, Informative)

        by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @02:05PM (#32604706)

        That's not surprisingly in the least since Chimps have been shown to like action movies and even porn. Chimps can become physically agitated when watching action movies or even scary movies. They seemingly even understand suspense, which seems to validate a higher level of intelligence. Like humans, chimps react to stimuli such as anger, violence, kindness, and sexuality. In each case, they have shown a propensity for enjoying the content of what is they watch; just as humans do.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by stupid_is ( 716292 )

        The gorilla at Longleat Safari Park has a big plasma/LCD screen with satellite and has to be actively discouraged from using it too much - he has the controller to use, too, I seem to recall.

        Can't remember what we were told was his favourite show, though

    • by lsmo ( 1106631 )
      The Men who stare at...
    • Using the circus videos as a control, now give them a channel changer and put pron on the other channel...
    • by tonywong ( 96839 )
      While there's a lot of humour to be found in this article, there can be some benefit as well. While I couldn't help but laugh when I read the article, producing videos and having them broadcast to zoo animals (not debating the ethics of keeping zoo animals, except that they are there) may help stimulate them (for short periods) even though they are in relatively cramped quarters.
  • Well duh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:15PM (#32603380)

    Have you seen what's on TV these days?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Hasler ( 414242 )

      > Have you seen what's on TV these days?

      No, but from the reports it appears that it's what has always been there.

  • Duh (Score:2, Funny)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
    I bet they'll like Michael Bay movies too.
    • I bet they'll like Michael Bay movies too.

      Actually, they think they're kind of douchey and stupid. But all the explosions are cool.

  • Extend the research? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DriedClexler ( 814907 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:28PM (#32603538)

    Knowing our similarities to other primate species, I think they should direct and film some "TV drama" type performance of monkeys -- basically, a TV show that uses monkeys doing the kinds of social interaction monkeys do. Then, see if the monkeys are just as interested in watching other monkeys handle situations, as we are in watching humans.

    Also, see if they're able to distinguish TV from reality, and if they start feeling strongly about the characters.

    Of course, it could be difficult to get the monkey "actors" to cooperate.

  • off my lawn, etc (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:38PM (#32603668) Homepage Journal

    According to a Japanese study, monkeys are not immune to the siren call of the idiot box

    That's "siren song," you illiterate clod.

    • And what does a siren's song do, hmm?

    • by Nugoo ( 1794744 )
      Oh, he probably just plays Magic. [wizards.com]
    • Interesting intepretation, as "siren song" suggests a quite lull towards the "idiot Box". Whereas, when I read "siren call" I envisaged a clambering to arms(in front of the idiot box). I lived in a rural area and was a volunteer firefighter. So the station siren meant the later for those on call..
  • by macbeth66 ( 204889 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:47PM (#32603778)

    film everything they see, will one of them eventually create "Planet of the Apes"?

    Just asking...

    • If an infinite number of monkeys film everything they see, will one of them eventually create "Planet of the Apes"?

      Nope, but give a couple dozen monkeys a few weeks and you'll get a pretty good equivalent of an Uwe Boll movie ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RevWaldo ( 1186281 )
      Well, since they're monkeys, probably something like this instead

      Lancelot Link - Secret Chimp! [youtube.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Samah ( 729132 )

      film everything they see, will one of them eventually create "Planet of the Apes"?

      I'd have thought something more along the lines of "Planet of the Humans". :)

  • How else would you account for the success of reality TV shows?

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @12:51PM (#32603840) Homepage
    Strap a monkey to a board, stick some electrodes in its brain, then measure how happy it is. Show it some moving images, which distract it from the fact that it's strapped to a board with electrodes stuck in its brain. It gets less unhappy. NOBEL PRIZE!
    • Demolition derby
    • Pong
    • Men's tennis
    • Women's tennis (monkey focus groups indicate that male monkeys maintain a narrower focus)
    • Mythbusters
    • Baywatch (increased focus of male monkeys also noted)

    In followup studies, human males show almost identical focus intensities. Unexpectedly, focus was most highly concentrated for episodes of Mythbusters -- even when Kari Byron was on hiatus.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )

      There was a short lived TV show on TBS featuring chimps running a TV network. It was appropriately named The Chimp Channel [wikipedia.org] and was actually pretty good if you like that kind of thing.

  • a study that shows monkeys are easily addicted to caffeine and nicotine? Or alcohol gets monkeys drunk?
  • If we let them watch Uwe Boll movies on their TVs, I bet even the Monkeys will agree that they suck.

  • by Desiderius ( 1474541 ) on Thursday June 17, 2010 @02:14PM (#32604804)
    Study Shows Scientists Like Watching Monkeys Watching TV
  • So take an animal, sequestered for experimentation, and give it a modicum of stimuli and see if it likes it? I tell you what, release the monkey, put a TV into the wild and see if free monkeys will stop and watch.

    ...and take the dang headphones off.
  • Darwin 1 - God 0

  • don't want to watch uwe boll
  • Please don't call us monkeys, we're chimpanzees. It's the gorillas who will destroy the world.
  • Well at least that finally explains the high ratings on some shows (ie. American Idol). :-)

    • by tazer ( 12366 ) *

      Ooops...My monkey posted that comment before reading the same comment above. Bad monkey! Bad monkey!

  • Were the monkeys given the remote control and what did they think of the SGU season finale?
  • The linked article does not actually refers to the Scientific article (why not?), so I went and did some digging.

    http://frontiersin.org/neuroscience/behavioralneuroscience/paper/10.3389/fnbeh.2010.00031/ [frontiersin.org]

    Nothing like "monkeys like to watch TV". The experiment only measure the activity of the monkey's brain when it is watching the movie, but not when it is NOT watching the movie or when it is watching something else. Actually the paper is more about this new brain wave sensor that they are developing than abo

  • I have a feeling this video [youtube.com] proves monkeys are ready to use the internet.
  • really enjoy video footage of other male monkeys committing dumb crimes, flipping their cars, and falling off of kegs.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.