Autobiographical memory — the ability to remember the events of life in chronological order and make them into a single picture. As far as the science of cause and effect is able to establish a «king of beasts»
(in the sense — people), but mentally «travel through time» and make these trips can correct conclusions, as it turned out, even larger primates.
«Our work shows that the human memory is not unique. We share some of our ability with animals «, — said co-author Martin Jem experiment Odras of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
In order to make such a conclusion, it took three years, four orangutan, chimpanzee and eight, of course, unchanged bananas. The experiment began in 2009, the year the Zoo Leipzig in Germany. Researchers put monkeys favorite fruit on the platform in front of their cells, and they had to get it. In the cells of primates were long and short sticks. Get the monkey could only treat with the help of a long stick, which they successfully did. Then, heartless scientists hid the two sticks. All this happened in front of the unfortunate brothers in mind that saw people hiding stick in boxes in different rooms. However, after that researchers discovered mercy animal cells, so that they could find a stick and get the bananas. This procedure monkeys had to endure four times.
Animals, of course, did not anticipate that over the next three years, they will still a great many troubles and worries related to the insidious plans of the experimenters.
Chimpanzees and orangutans again in different variations made to get the banana, then find a hidden tool, but the initial experience is not repeated.
But in 2012, researchers once again repeated the first test. And what? Monkey coped with the task — to find a long stick in different rooms and get a banana — much faster than the previous time.
«I reacted to the idea of the experiment was skeptical and was extremely surprised when the animals quickly found the hidden stick» — says Martin Odras.
This means only one thing: chimpanzees and orangutans have autobiographical memory and restore events in the correct order, and in fact before them did not notice.
By the way, do not confuse the different types of memory. This warning, and the organizers of the experiment. Species there are so many memories.
But I think that the autobiographical memory, as mentioned above, has only a man. By the way, the memories are formed differently. The human brain is shared memories of the past into two groups: general and specific. General — routine, those that occur constantly, from time to time. This, for example, memories of visiting the school or university. Specific memories — the ones that have a unique, «one-off» nature. For example, a first kiss or failure on an important exam.
In order to remember this or that event, not necessarily strain your brain. Start memories can be another way — using the so-called «anchors». For example, the smell of tangerines can remind us of the Christmas tree and the smell of pies — about his beloved grandmother.
«I have a perfume that every time remind me of how I was five or six years old and I go to school» — talks about his «anchor» Martin Odras.
It is these «sea» attributes are used by researchers in order to simplify the task of primates in the second part of the experiment, which took place in 2012, the year.
Scientists have recreated the whole entourage of the initial experience, wore the same clothes, and take action in the same manner.
However, to finally make sure that they discovered in monkeys autobiographical memory, experimenters conducted another experiment -chut complicated. With the help of a wooden ball (which later also hidden), orangutans and chimpanzees were to get frozen yogurt. Nobody doubted that after a few workouts, they will succeed, but the researchers again cunning complicated experiment. Exactly two weeks later the animals were to repeat their actions, but now only a memory of the past experience was a swing on which lay frozen yogurt. All the other conditions were completely different. What surprise of the scientists, when the monkeys managed. Now they have to figure out whether primates are aware that these are their own memories, the product of their personal experience and perceptions.
Martin Odras compares the autobiographical memory of the film: our brain — the hard drive on which is written a lot of movies, and «anchor» — the button «play», which starts playback of any of these films. This man, of course, well aware that it was his memories. Understand whether it’s chimpanzees and orangutans? Not yet known.
However, studies of memory remarkable prospects. For memory deficits — one of the global problems of medicine. It is hoped that if the scientists will bring their experiment to its logical conclusion, then the results may become the key to a better understanding of the mechanisms of human memory.