Ever wonder why your Labrador doesn’t remember being told off? Chances are your Labbie has forgotten! New research study shows that dogs only remember for two minutes!
And dogs are at the top end of the scale. The average short-term memory span of animals is 27 seconds!
The animal brain retains information that is important to their survival. Unlike humans animals don’t tend to remember specific events.
We’ve seen chimpanzees learn to do amazing things, but the study surprisingly concludes that they are right at the bottom of the memory-span scale – they remember for only 20 seconds! Being our closest living ancestors, this suggests that human memory evolved independently.
While baboons, pig-tailed macaques and squirrel monkeys have short-term memories slightly better than bees.
The study involved 25 species, ranging from pigeons to dolphins, and concluded that animals have an average memory span of just 27 seconds
“When it comes to short-term memory, it seems to work almost the same for all animals,” said associate Professor of ethology at Stockholm University, Johan Lind.
“It’s a bit surprising that apes do not remember better than rats, but the results are clear,” he said. “Human memory stands out because it is so susceptible, anything seems to stick in the memory for a very long time.”
Professor Lind was surprised by their poor performance of chimpanzees.
This is how the research team conducted the trials:
- The experiments began with an animal seeing a stimulus, such as a red dot.
- The red dot then disappeared.
- After some time the animal was shown two stimuli, one the same as the first – the other different, for example a black square.
- The animal was rewarded for choosing the same stimulus after the break as they saw before the break, i.e. the red dot.
The study revealed that animals have different memory systems that can be divided into short-term memory and specialized memories.
In their short-term memories, they store data about most things, but this data disappears after a very short period of time.
When it comes to specialized memories, animals have a variety that can only store a certain types of information that is stored for a very long period of time.
Here’s an example: A crow hoarding food can recall the location of hidden nuts for months. The same bird has difficulty remembering things unrelated survival for even a minute.
“This seems to apply to all animals except man,’ says Magnus Enqvist, Professor of Ethology at Stockholm University.
Source: Mail Online