- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Monkey see, monkey calculate statistics
Say the word ‘statistician‘ and most people might think of an intelligent but reclusive person, probably working in a darkened room and almost certainly wearing glasses. But a new study shows that a monkey in front of a monitor can make a reasonably good statistician too.
Mostly, there are risks and probabilities in lieu of guarantees or right answers. Animals must weigh up the available information, often from multiple sources, and decide on the course of action most likely to work out in their favour.
Yang and Shadlen tested this decision-making ability in two rhesus macaques using a variation of the well-known weather prediction task used to test human volunteers. In the human version, people are shown a