Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Memory of Stimulus Sequences Spins Boring but Grows Large #Science

We observe the colossal Gangplank the Gangster drive for Donald Trump as that one is just about everywhere in MSM, social networks, etc.  Do you hear anything from them about what happens after that.  That absence is specifically the difference between humans and monkeys insofar as our recognition of sequential stimuli is much better.

Macaques, and other animals, have great difficulties in distinguishing between sequences of stimuli. This might be what separates humans from other animals.

Credit: Johan Lind/N

Even Macaques understand if you gangplank Trump then you get Pence for the spare captain and he's probably even worse since he has no more imagination than the average barnacle.  Therefore, we advise these monkeys, "You probably won't like Facebook."

Humans possess many cognitive abilities not seen in other animals, such as a full-blown language capacity as well as reasoning and planning abilities. Despite these differences, however, it has been difficult to identify specific mental capacities that distinguish humans from other animals. Researchers at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Stockholm University have now discovered that humans have a much better memory to recognize and remember sequential information.

Science Daily:  Memory for stimulus sequences distinguishes humans from other animals

The researchers know humans can think better but there hasn't been much to explain precisely why.  Their premise is the ability with memory of sequential information is the thing but that's still sounding thin so we want some more.

The new study collated data from 108 experiments on birds and mammals, showing that the surveyed species had great difficulties in distinguishing between certain sequences of stimuli.

"In some experiments, animals had to remember the order in which a green and a red lamp were lit. Even this simple discrimination turned out to be very difficult, and the difficulties increase with longer sequences. In contrast, animals perform as well as humans in most cases in which they have to distinguish between single stimuli, rather than sequences," says Johan Lind, a co-author of the study and an Associate Professor at Stockholm University.

- SD

We're rolling with it so far since it makes sense all creatures will respond about the same to a single triggering stimulus but we're not clear, thus far, how the ability to differentiate longer sequences confers any particular benefit beyond card tricks and magic acts.

Recognizing sequences of stimuli is a prerequisite for many uniquely human traits, for instance language, mathematics, or strategic games such as chess. After establishing that non-human animals have trouble distinguishing stimulus sequences, the researchers proposed a theory for why it is so.

- SD

Fair enough.  All of these things are important except, of course, chess which is for people who have not yet grasped it's the intellectual incarnation of golf.

This research can explain why no language-trained animal has successfully mastered sequential aspects of language, such as the difference between "the dog bit the lady" and "the lady bit the dog." The researchers' hypothesize that, some time during human prehistory, the capacity to recognize and remember sequences of stimuli evolved, supporting the later evolution of human-level language, planning, and reasoning.

The article "Memory for stimulus sequences: a divide between humans and other animals?" is published on Royal Society Open Science.

- SD

The Rockhouse rates this one an excellent, highly-credible pitch.  Their thoughts regarding the development of language are particularly interesting in terms of the Foundation of All Things.

- Infer a bit regarding Noam Chomsky and the premise our thinking is defined and / or constrained by the limits of language to express it -

Although the Rockhouse plumbed (i.e. ripped off) quite a bit from the source article, there's a wealth yet to be revealed there to the interested student.

Note:  the Rockhouse is fond of using the term interested student and such people may be highly-educated or not well-educated at all but all share curiosity and that makes you the finest kind.

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