Monkeys Prefer Listening To Music Over Watching Videos, Find European Researchers

Researchers at the University of Glasgow and Aalto University in Finland have recorded the response of three white-faced saki monkeys at Korkeasaari zoo in Helenski to different audio and visual stimuli. They have found that the monkeys prefer audio stimuli over visual over screen time. Saki monkeys or sakis are new world primates found in Brazil, Suriname, Venezuela, Guyana and French Guiana. They live in the lower canopy of the forest and feed fruits, seeds, insects and nuts.
 
Image Credits: Pixabay

The researchers used infrared sensors to turn tunnels into interactive zones where sakis could be enclosed. The monkeys would trigger either music or video on the screen in front. Experts recorded their reactions to both and found that sakis interacted for twice as long with audio stimuli than the visual ones. They preferred listening to Arctic Monkeys (a rock band) rather than watching Planet of the Apes (a film series).

The overall interaction levels went down with both stimuli as the research progressed. However, their interactions with video stimuli increased as compared to audio ones. Out of three audio pieces, they listened to music, and the remaining ones were traffic noise and rain sounds. Similarly, they were provided with three video files; underwater scenes, abstract shapes and colours, and worm videos. They chose watching underwater scenes over others.

Touchscreen systems were used during the experiment to engage and entertain animals. They help understand what actions an organism takes towards stimulus in the wild, helping them to sustain.

"Our findings raise a number of questions which are worthy of further study to help us build effective interactive enrichment systems," said Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, of the University of Glasgow. "Further study could help us determine whether the short interactions were simply part of their typical behaviour or reflective of their level of interest in the system. Similarly, their varying levels of interaction over time could be reflective of how engaging they found the content or simply that they were becoming habituated to the tunnel’s presence in their enclosure. While they chose audio more regularly than video, the results weren’t statistically significant enough for us to know for sure what they prefer."

According to the researchers, the system used during the research for 32 days is one of its kind that provided options to sakis to choose the stimuli. Their reactions were short and lasted for a few seconds as they ran or moved out through the system each time to interact with other enclosed elements.


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