Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Pigs, Birds, and Non-human Primates Play Video Games: Scientific Studies

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    Thanked in
    27 Posts

    Talking Pigs, Birds, and Non-human Primates Play Video Games: Scientific Studies

    "Everyone" likes video games!

    Overall, all pigs performed significantly above chance on one-walled targets, which indicates that, to some extent, all acquired the association between the joystick and cursor movement. That the pigs achieved the level of success they did on a task that was significantly outside their normal frame of reference in itself remarkable, and indicative of their behavioral and cognitive flexibility. Their high level of social motivation to perform the task was also noteworthy. Although food rewards associated with the task were likely a motivating factor, the social contact the pigs experienced with their trainer also appeared to be very important. Occasionally, during some sessions, equipment failures resulted in non-reward following correct responses. On these occasions, the pigs continued to make correct responses when rewarded only with verbal and tactile reinforcement from the experimenter, who was also their primary caretaker. Additionally, during times when the task demands seemed most challenging for the pigs, and resulted in reluctance to perform, only verbal encouragement by the experimenter was effective in resuming training. This may have been due to the strong bond the pigs developed with the experimenter during training, which would support the assertion of Boysen (1992) that the human-animal bond is a crucial element in the success of animals used in studies of comparative cognition.


    In addition, the pigs’ limited dexterity no doubt constrained their performance. Because the joystick-operated video-task paradigm was initially designed for use by non-human primates with great manual dexterity, modifications to the equipment were necessary so that the pigs could use their snouts to manipulate the joystick. However, the pigs’ ability for such manipulation was restricted to their normal range of head and neck movements. This limitation appeared particularly troublesome for the Yorkshire pigs whose larger size also constrained their ability to reposition themselves as needed to contact targets located in the horizontal plane. Thus, it was not surprising that the Yorkshire pigs performed better on vertical plane movements, which are more frequently seen in their normal behavioral repertoire during routine activities such as rooting. In fact, when faced with left or right targets, the Yorkshire subjects were often observed to alter their stance so that they were parallel to the computer screen. This way, they could approach horizontal targets in the same way they did for those in the vertical plane. Because of their small size, the micro pigs were better able to reorient themselves as needed to view the computer monitor and complete horizontal plane movements. This flexibility likely resulted in better performance in both planes and may have contributed to their superior performance compared to the Yorkshire subjects. Ebony and Ivory’s smaller size also enabled them to be maintained in the laboratory for a much longer period for training and testing (15 months) than the Yorkshire pigs. Thus, they were afforded the opportunity to continue training, thereby contributing to their improved performance on the SIDE task. Consequently, their terminal performance was much better than the Yorkshire pigs that were trained for only 10 weeks on the same task.


    In summary, the results of the present study underscore the importance of understanding the basic perceptual and motor capabilities of a species prior to developing appropriate methods of testing their cognitive abilities. While the joystick-operated video-game paradigm has proven suitable for testing several species, including monkeys, pigeons, and chimpanzees (Rumbaugh et al., 1989; Washburn et al., 1990; Spetch et al., 1992; Hopkins et al., 1996), it is not optimal for testing the cognitive abilities of pigs, as their performance was clearly hindered by dexterity limitations and visual constraints. Thorough investigations of the pig’s visual and motor capabilities are necessary before their cognitive abilities can be adequately assessed using this or any type of technology. Use of a computer touch screen may better address the problem of limited dexterity and would likely provide a more viable alternative in future computer-interfaced studies of the cognitive abilities of pigs.

  2. #2
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
    Gameguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Richmond Hill, Ontario (Canada)
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    Thanked in
    49 Posts


    This would explain the various experiences I've had in online multiplayer games.

  3. #3
    Pac-Man (Level 10)
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    Thanked in
    99 Posts


    didnt have time to read the article but Ive stood up for non-human animals as being smart, emotional, and dignified for years. the fact that so many people are fine with putting a bullet in a mother's head after robbing her calf of its milk for years after seperating it from the mom is pretty disgusting. but usually when you say this, people just think youre the crazy one

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-23-2013, 12:58 PM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-09-2012, 03:40 AM
  3. Play Angry Birds With a USB Slingshot [Slashdot]
    By DP ServBot in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-28-2012, 02:50 PM
  4. What the hell is up with birds in video games?
    By Veepa in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 05-21-2005, 08:33 PM
  5. Replies: 29
    Last Post: 06-13-2004, 04:14 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts