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How To Learn Sign Language

The Cognitive Tradeoff Hypothesis

[clangs] This is Inuyama, Japan, a historic city home to Japan’s oldest
original wooden castle. It is also home
to Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute.Here, a group of chimpanzees
have been trained
to play a game that exposes
something shocking
about their memories.This is going
to blow your mind.
Here is how it works.Take a look at these numbers.1, 2, 3.Remember where they are,because they’re about
to disappear.
Can you point to where
each number used to be
in numerical order?Probably. It’s pretty easy.1, 2, 3.But what if we
make it harder?
Get ready to point to where
each number was in order…
now.If you feel like you didn’t
have enough time
to memorize the screen,
that’s fine.
It’s nothing
to be ashamed of.
Or is it?Here is a chimpanzee
taking exactly that long
to memorize the same
Nailed it.Each of these puzzles
is completely new
to the chimpanzee,but just a glance
is all it needs
to completely capture
all the numbers.
How can a chimpanzee’s memorybe so much better
than ours?
Well, one theory
is that we humans
are worse at this task
because we can talk.
What makes humans different
from other animals? Well, one thing is language. We have the cognitive ability to communicate not just about
what’s happening now, but also about what did happen,
and what could happen. We can tell stories,
and it’s awesome. But if language is so good, why didn’t any other animal
develop it like we did?A good approach
to this question
is one that looks
at how we are different
from those who were almost us.Around 7 million years ago,there were no chimpanzees
and there were no humans.
But there were CHLCAs,an acronym which stands for“Chimpanzee-Human
Last Common Ancestor.”
Like us,
CHLCAs didn’t have
great natural offenses
or defenses,
protective shells or claws,
fangs or venom.
So living in the safety
of the trees was great.
Those who stayed became
the chimps we know today.
But for reasons we’re still
not quite sure of,
some of the CHLCAs decided
to venture down to the savanna.
Without appropriate
physical abilities,
things like cooperation,
imagining new strategies,
and the assigning of roles
were necessary for survival,
all of which are easier
if you have
a rich collection of symbolsthat can refer to things
across time:
language.Many different types
of creatures emerged
with varying adaptations.But today, only one member
of the family remains.
Us.Language as we know it may have
been one of the strategies that kept us alive
in the savanna. But where did it move in? The brains of those
who developed language and those who didn’t
aren’t totally different. A brand-new brain structure
didn’t just pop into existence. Instead, anatomy used
for other tasks must have been sacrificed. And as it turns out,
for beautiful reasons, detailed short-term memory may have been
a fair thing to lose in return for language. This trade-off
between memory and language is the Cognitive Tradeoff
Hypothesis.The Cognitive Tradeoff
is the culmination
of decades of work
by one of the world’s leading
Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawaof Kyoto University’s
Primate Research Institute.
Founded in 1967,the institute was created
for scientific research
in association with the nearby
Japan Monkey Center.
The collaborative centers house
over 60 species
and nearly 1,000 primates who
live and play in open spaces.
Look at monkeys. [monkeys chitter] Is there a baby
on that one? -[Michael] Six months?
-[Tetsuro] Yes. [gibbers] That’s where they live. [Michael]
Can you do it? [grunts]Dr. Matsuzawa has spent
over 40 years
non-human primates.
He splits his time
between fieldwork
in the West African country
of Guinea,
and here in Japan,where he and his colleagues
have developed
a chimpanzee habitatdesigned to mimic life
in the wild.
This habitat is home to Skylab,
a working laboratory
set high atop the chimpanzee”
climbing structure.
In this open air lab,chimpanzees are free
to come and go as they please.
And this is how you move?If they decide to stay,they participate
in cognitively enriching tasks
designed to mimic
foraging behavior.
When the chimpanzees are
interested in participating,
they enter one of Skylab’sspecially designed
computer booths,
where a camera uses
facial recognition software
to recognize them
and select a test
based that particular chimp’s
current familiarity
with the task.Each trial takes about as longas it would for a chimp
to forage a single bite.
And each morsel
of food they get
is accounted for
in their diet.
Do the doors open
when they approach? No human even needs to be…?So, what is for us
a great way to collect data,
is for them an experiencesimilar in many waysto what they would be doing
in the wild.
Impressive.Dr. Matsuzawa has been running
memory tests like these
on chimpanzees since 1978.His research has shown
the phenomenal
and nearly photographic
short-term memory
of these primates.Two of the most famous chimps
at the PRI are Ai,
named after the Japanese word
for “love,”
and her son Ayumu,
whose name means “walk.”
What can we learn
about ourselves
by studying chimpanzees
like them?
Well, I want to find out.If we and chimpanzees
come from a common ancestor, what can explain the split
where the chimpanzees don’t seem to need
or to develop language like we did? Why would that happen?
Was it an accident? Ah-ha. Our habitat… provided a pressure
to develop language. Yes. -That’s incredible.
-Mm. So, in a way, we should be
really grateful that our ancestors
were so weak, they got pushed
out of the trees. [thumping] -Bang, bang.
-[laughs] [Michael] I’d invite you to be
a part of this interview, but you don’t have language. Right now. Mm-hmm. Quick decisions. Our ancestors didn’t have
that same pressure? Hmm. [Michael]The Cognitive
Tradeoff Hypothesis
suggests that in the dangerous
world beyond the trees,
early humans needed
to teach each other
and use abstract symbols
that could refer
not just to the immediate
here and now,
but to hypotheticals
and generalities.
Making room for that kind
of abstract thinking
meant sacrificing the immediate
and detailed memory
of their ancestors.Yeah. I’m able to imagine
past and future. I’m able to describe things
in an abstract way. And I don’t need the details, because I have the label. So it seems like a pretty good
trade-off. Yeah. Yeah. What a great message, right? Sharing is what makes us “us.” I would love to see your
working memory tests on chimpanzees in action. I would also really love
to participate myself and see how well I can do
compared to a chimpanzee. Yes. Have you ever had
a human and a chimpanzee compete like that
together? -[hooting]
-[Michael] They’re excited -about the idea too.
-[laughs] [gibbering] [Michael]
An opportunity to do the memory
task just like a chimpanzee
is really special.Who knows how it will go?Let’s see who shows up.-[clapping]
-[Michael] Yeah! You’re really good
at this, Ai.Looks like today,
it will be celebrity chimp, Ai.
Ai is older now,
and just like in humans,
her cognitive abilities
have decreased with time.
So I may actually
stand a chance.
To face off against Ai,I will be sitting in the booth
next to her.
Normally, her son Ayumu
plays against her.
But today, well,
she’s in for some Michael time.
I’m not your child, though,
am I?The tests are going
to get harder as we go along.
How will my memory compare
to that of a chimp
who never made
the same cognitive trade-off?
[exhales]In the first round,
the task is to remember
where each of the three numbers
are in numerical order.
But here’s the trick:as soon as I touch
one of them on the screen,
the other two will
be covered by solid squares,
so I can no longer see
where they are.
Now, well,
it’s up to my memory.
Okay, let’s go. [Michael]
If I make a mistake,
I get an error noise
like this…
[buzzer]…while a correct answersounds like this.[computer chirps]When the chimpanzee
gets it right,
they are rewarded
with apples.
The human, me, well,
just gets the bragging rights.
I’m not getting apples. [laughs] [computer chirps] You really actually have
to focus more than I expected. Almost messed that one up. [buzzer] [computer chirps] [Tetsuro] How did Michael do? 95. [Michael]
On my first run,
I’ve managed to beat Ai.What is the next task? How many symbols? Whoa. [computer chirps] This is a lot harder.This game is similar
to the last,
but starts a little bit
This time, three numbers
appear on a blank screen,
but as soon as I touch
the first one,
the entire screen
is covered in boxes.
[computer chirps] Whew. [buzzer] [computer chirps] [buzzer] [Michael]
Ai… you having fun? -Whoa!
-[grunts]Ai is used to Ayumu, her son,
playing the game beside her,
so my presence
may be throwing her off.
I’m here for moral support, Ai.It was fun squaring off
against Ai,
but I want to see how I would
do against her son, Ayumu.
I’m ready. Okay… [Michael]Ayumu is currently
Matsuzawa’s best pupil,
able to ace the memory tests
at blazingly fast speeds.
[computer chirps]But today, Ayumu is not
interested in mental combat.
He’s busy flirting
with some young ladies
who live with him
here at the PRI.
And since free choice
is the guiding principle
of Matsuzawa’s research,
we can’t make him join us.
The good news is that
Ayumu doesn’t need to be here
for me to compete
against him.
The game can be presented
to me just as Ayumu does it:
with nine numerals.Let’s see if my luck
is the same against Ayumu
as it was against Ai.Oh, man. Okay. -[buzzer]
-Wow. [laughs] Even when I take time
I can’t do it right. Okay, more time. [buzzer] I thought I had that one. It takes a long time to memorize
nine numerals’ positions. [buzzer] It’s embarrassing
how long this takes me. I can do this one. [computer chirps] All right. Yeah. You don’t need
to laugh about it. Thirteen. I got better, yeah,
because you were pressuring me. Jesus. Six times worse,
six times slower. Yeah. I would love to. [Michael]This is the most
difficult test.
I have to remember all nine
numbers in numerical order
at Ayumu’s speed,which is to say,
I have to do
what I could
barely do before,
but now I have
to memorize them all
within the amount of timeit takes to blink.So I get half a second
to prepare? I’m going to prove you wrong.As a reminder,
this is how Ayumu performs,
which is standard
for a young chimp.
You got to be kidding me. -That’s way too fast.
-[buzzer] I got the first three. [buzzer] It’s like a joke. [buzzer] [laughs]
I don’t know where the 2 is. [buzzer] It’s too fast. Trying to think of this
very holistically. [buzzer] [clears throat] [buzzer] After the first three, if I see them,
I’m just having to guess. [laughs] [buzzer] Yeah. It’s impossible. Well, I hope this was
helpful for you. It was the first time you had
had a chimpanzee and a human together in the booth. What do you think–? [both laugh] If you ever need me
to study as a primate, -I give myself to you.
-Okay. Wow. And we need to make sure
to preserve them. -They’re already endangered.
-Yes. And yet they are our closest
link to understanding what we came from
and where we might go. [Tetsuro]
Mm. [Michael] It’s like taking care
of your family. -[Tetsuro] Mm, right.
-[Michael] Quite literally. [Tetsuro]
Yes. [snarling] [Michael]
The fact that humans alone
use complex
symbolic language
doesn’t make us any better
than any other species.
It just means that the path
we took required it.
In fact, in some ways
we aren’t better,
because we can talk.Today, we study those
who took different paths
as a way to learn
more about ourselves.
If we lose them,
we lose part of our story,
where we came from,who we are,and who we can be
in the future.
[gibbering] [shrieks]And, as always,thanks for watching.This season,
Mind Field. I will die. But should I? I want to perform
a reverse exorcism. There was like
a glowing figure, man. [man] I would love to do the Stanford
prison experiment again. There, let’s blast them again.
Number three. [electricity hums] Have you ever had a human and a chimpanzee compete
like that together? You having fun? -Whoa!
-No, not really. [shrieks] I am going to make
my hometown function like a brain. [cheering] Doing a good moral deed can
actually make you more likely to do something immoral. We’re going to see if we
can get people to allow a child to take the blame
for a crime they committed. -How old are you, son?
-Twelve. [guard] We’re going to need
to talk to the police. This facility is where you both
cryo-preserve people and store them. We have 159 patients
in these tanks. We’re offering an unknown
extension of human lifespan. -[Michael] You spied
on their dream.
-Yeah. That’s pretty spooky. [Michael] We received a message
from outer space. Please figure out
what this message is saying. -[man] You ready?
-I’m ready. Hey, I have to leave
and go over to the next episode, but you can come with me. Click below to check out
the next episode ofMind Field.I’ll see you there.

100 Replies to “The Cognitive Tradeoff Hypothesis”

  • if you look at the outlines and spaces of the whole image you can process them a lot quicker but no where as fast as chimp speed

  • Nothing yet proved that animals don't have their own language. The fact that we can't understand their sounds and their means of communication doesn't prove that they don't have a language. We, as humans, chose to communicate in a different way than animals and developed it.

  • This is like the evolutionary equivalent to seeing your childhood bully all grown up and taking revenge.
    [Chimpanzee banging on human built enclosure]
    "Yeah, where are your big scary muscles *now*?"

  • 😊 i Like your video. 🙄 but we are humans ufo aliens conquered earth long time ago and we changed a little through consuming contents (gravity-air-food-AC-….), 😒 keep definition "animal" to yourself.

  • It's almost similar with Socrates's question. "do we really need to write something down and will cause our brain capabilities to remember thing disappear?" and here we are today with all this gadgets to store notes and memories. It's our trade-off which created history.

  • God doesn't exist.
    Science will continue do discover things to the point where will be impossible to be a religious person, and there is nothing you can do about it.
    Evolution IS real

  • I wonder how someone with savant syndrome would do on the test. Or people on the spectrum in general. Since they tend look at the world more detail oriented with different patterns of thought, it would be interesting to see if that would have any sort of effect on human performance on short term memory.

  • i was able to consistently memorize at least 7 of the numbers in the 0.5 seconds and then i would just guess the last two, so i would be able to get more than 50%. i don't memorize it by the absolute position of all the numbers, but by the relative position of two consecutive numbers, and it's probably easier that way. no monkeys beating me in a memory game. also, why is commenting turned off on most mind field videos? i understand some of them, but i don't see how comments could get aggressive about the isolation. all i'd ask is how and where to try that 3 day challenge

  • Nah, that's not a fair comparison. Ayumu has been doing this his entire life basically and has had a steady positive reinforcement mechanism for a primal desire (food and hunger). Ai and Michael were a more fair comparison in that regard but still Ai has had that same positive reinforcement and triggering of dopamine. We don't use that type of memory or memorize in that fashion. Sit someone down to practice 5 times a day for 3 weeks and you'll see a difference just like how Michael was improving as time progressed. This guy even says he never had people take the tests. How can you make a hypothesis like that and not test a proper control? Why not do a study with kids in school and have them earn extra credit for every time they succeed in the test or give them candy. Watch the results be different. Maybe the theory stands but the results wont gap as wildly.

  • I've been watching all the Mind Field eps and I just want to say Michael got 5 MRI scan's in S2 (and one fake one) and that can't be healthy

  • I can tell Michael’s very insecure whenever he feels dumb haha he was all serious when the Japanese dude was just having fun and laughing.

  • Michael has been doing this for an hour. Ayiumu has been doing it for months. Bring in a chimp that has the same time in the game as the human.

  • If you give $1 for a person everytime a person gets it right, i'm pretty sure some people gonna be able to mirror what ayumu does.

  • Another great video. I don't see it as a tradeoff though. It seems like we gained speech AND we lost short term memory. I don't see why one has to be related to the other at all..

  • I kinda thought of it in a way that we have memory limits? Like perhaps we can only fill up so much on our memory and we filled most of it up with language. That is why our short term object recognition, our RAM of some sort sucks.

  • I think I missed this, but were the apes trained or can they just do this instinctively? I feel like we might be able to train to do the same number task as well as Ayumu.

  • First of all, this was fanfreakingtastic. Amazing stuff. My short term memory isn't great. Not bad, but not great. I totally failed that numbers test in this video right off the bat. But if I were doing that for years in order to get tasty sustenance, I would probably be fantastic at it too. I'm only @ 7:30 right now and I know they've already hypothesized why they are so good at it and they will detail here in a bit.

  • So hear me out… what if the chimp's retinas had a longer reaction to light (photons)? So the image stays burned in longer on their retina compared to humans? So they see the image a fraction more longer?

  • It's tragic that it's still legal in some states of the US to own chimpanzees as pets. They are kept in appalling conditions. If tyou want to find someone to get mad about, check out Aya Katz' channel where she keeps her chimp "Bow" in an empty cage for his entire life. Fuck that bitch.

  • Actually, the CHLCAs ventured onto the savanna because they had to. The world was drying at that time, and the forests of Africa were slowly being replaced by grasslands, leaving lots of CHLCAs nowhere to live.

  • SURVIVAL OF THE NOT-FITTEST. Early hominids developed language, imagination, and strategic planning precisely because they were forced out of a safe environment by competitors who were stronger than them. It shows the idea of evolution following a simple, straight line of advancement from the fittest to the fittest is simplistic nonsense.

  • that explains why authistic ppl got such insane shortterm memory, most authistic can realise/see/feel/hear way more intense or in layers at the same time, but at a cost of other parts in theyr brain to be less evolved. while you or i struggle to replay notes on a piano or play, or see figure out prime numbers without doing the math, autistic mostlikely can.
    they got abilitys that for most humans are just insane, while they think the same if a more common human gets into a conversation, or just washes the dishes or goes shopping.
    to me its just insane how powerful the human brain is, it has insane abilitys to adapt and am shure thats why we are at this point of existens in the way we exist.
    our brain is evolved to adapt to mostlikely every enviroment, or way of living, so does our body, is more complex than most living beeings, infackt it is so complex that small amounts of Sievert can alter our body in a way we suffer from it for generations, while mostlikely every other beeing on this planet doesnt mutate or die, that easy form Sievert humans are quiet fulnerable because of ther complexity.

  • Приятно то, что есть субтитры на русском языке)))))))) Спасибо))))

  • Very interesting, thank you. I think it is important to remember that those chimps get a lot of practice. I believe with practice in a short amount of time humans can do the same or even better.

  • The first thing that hit me was that it probably has to do with our ability to organize thought into long term memory much better than most animals an that includes speaking. Speaking isn't something we need to remember to do every few minutes and thus using short term memory has little evolutionary value to humans compared to other species.

  • Кілька днів і людина так зможе, думка субєктивна, але цілком можливо)

  • Is this where Clover Studios got the idea for the Blockheads in Okami?
    I swear you'd have to have Ayumu's pattern recognition to beat Blockhead Grande legitimately, i've never beaten him without cheating by recording the sequence on my phone.

  • I thought it was interesting how michael would talk when he got an error. Where is memory failed he instantly felt the need to talk

  • To be fair. I used to be a member of and they had this exact same game. Didn't take much training before I could do 9 numeral, just showed for an instant, without problem.

  • "Why were they able to do this at a glance?"
    You said it yourself: Those chimpanzees were trained to play that game. They have much more experience. We got 1 chance to do it right. I bet I could have done this, were I prepared.
    For the record, I got 1, 2 and 3 of the correct and knew generally where the rest were. So this feels really unfair.
    I won't lose to them, damn it! xD
    Incidentally, I am actually someone who's very capable visually, and, funnily enough, am both good with different languages, yet slow to form sentences. COINCIDENCE?!


    Also, no we didn't sacrifice anything. As Tetsuro's angle tells us: Just like the Chimpanzee doesn't need language to survive, we didn't need to live in the "here and now". We didn't give up on anything, we grew into what helped us survive the most.

  • We as humans are taught to look at the numbers numerically, it's just not possible to do it in the 0.5 second given. That doesn't mean we're not capable of doing this task. The Chimpanzee's don't numerically identify the numbers, they see them as symbols. If we swap out the numbers and them make them into objects, shapes. Or even coloured dots. Picking animals from smallest to largest, or colours lightest to darkest; I think human would preform much better on the harder difficulty. We know humans do well with object identifying puzzles, would the Chimpanzee's do as well if they changed the nature of the test. I'm guessing not, why else do the same test year after year for decades; and you could see he was actually upset that the human did better in the first round. Does that make sense? If the Chimpanzee is capable of doing this test amazingly at level 10, but poorly on level 1. This doesn't make sense. This would be like hitting the bull eye's on a dart board every time, but if I make the bull's eye the whole dart board; you'll completely miss the board 10% of the time. I'd love to see more testing, very interesting.

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