Humans aren’t the only movie buffs in the animal kingdom. A new study shows that chimps who watch movies about monkeys can end up riveted to the screen and recall events from the movie after a single viewing.
Researchers at Kyoto University showed six bonobos and six chimpanzees a pair of short films that featured humans dressed in ape costumes performing scary acts. In one film, the actor bursts through one of two identical doors, while in the other film, an actor attacks the person in the ape costume with one of two objects.
Twenty-four hours later, when the animals watched the same movie again, analysis of their eye movements showed they anticipated the “ape” coming out the correct door, and also looked at the right weapon before it was used to attack the ape.
The findings show that the chimps and bonobos were able to store information from the film screenings in their long-term memory and apply it later, shedding new light on the high-level cognitive capabilities of primates.