The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our Annual Report.

Evaluating ape intelligence is as complicated as measuring human IQ

| | October 5, 2017

Ape (especially chimpanzee) social intelligence, the authors [David Leavens and Kim Bard] say, has been routinely mismeasured because apes are tested in comprehensively different circumstances from the children with whom they are compared — and against whose performance theirs is found to be lacking.

Confounding factors in these experiments, in other words, are essentially fatal: They render the conclusions unreliable. The testing procedures are so different between apes and children that it becomes impossible to isolate evolutionary history as the explanatory factor when differences in social cognition are uncovered.

“Human 1-year-old infants were compared with a group of apes that were, on average, 19 years old (a sampling confound). In this study there was a test phase in which the participants could ask a distant experimenter to replenish a cache of toys (humans) or food (apes — another confound).

Researchers could train apes in task-relevant experiences in order to level the playing field. It takes kids about 18 months, for instance, to follow another person’s pointing gesture to a location behind themselves. An ape who is tested on such a pointing gesture would, then, be given 18 months of comparable cultural exposure to such gestures.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: A Failure Of Intelligence Testing, This Time With Chimpanzees

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend