Monkeys enjoy watching TV just as much and in the same way as human beings, according to new research by Kyoto University’s Primate Research
Institute. The research team, led by professor Nobuo Masataka, tracked changes in the neural blood flow of a 3-year-old rhesus monkey (equivalent in maturity to a 10-year-old human child) by beaming near-infrared light at the animal’s head and measuring how much light bounces back — a technique called “optical topography.” The monkey was then shown TV images while the researchers observed which parts of the brain became active. The researchers found that blood flow to the temple regions of the frontal lobe increased as the monkey watched TV, indicating that part of the brain had become more active — the
same response human babies have to seeing the smiling faces of their mothers. Meanwhile, the team also discovered that those areas of the brain became more active when the monkey was shown TV images of elephants and tigers doing circus tricks versus images of another monkey not doing much of anything. “For animals, I think perhaps the joy response stems from their innate inquisitiveness,” says Masataka. “I think we’ve provided backing for the idea that trying to show TV to monkeys in zoos may be good for their welfare.” The research team’s results were published recently in a Swiss journal of neurology. Masataka Nobuo, Doctor of Philosophy (Osaka Univ.) Research; Communication of primates (including humans). news from: mdn.mainichi.jp
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