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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Monkey faces ! - cognitive recognition.

Monkey face - A face like that of a monkey; an amusing or funny face.  Could be derogatory too.   Long ago, when telex was a means of communication – an agency involved in supplies to Ships – communicated to their counterpart – ‘Russian Captain like monkey’ !~   what was meant to be communicated was that a Russian Captain wanted a monkey as pet !

Five of them, pretty attractive, each showing difference expression – not looking at me – hence not scary ! yet capable of frightening us .. .. 

 ‘Monkey business’ means doing something mischievous. Eg - "The company fired its accountant because there was some monkey business going on with the accounts."  It is humans who write and hence lot derogatory about everything else !! 

Monkey is a common name that may refer to most mammals of the infraorder Simiiformes, also known as the simians. Traditionally, all animals in the group now known as simians are counted as monkeys except the apes, which constitutes an incomplete paraphyletic grouping.  

Monkeys are considered closest to human race and perhaps could recognize faces easily .. .. the  face recognition system is capable of extremely fine within-category judgments to recognize and to discriminate between faces and the different facial expressions displayed by the same face.  Do you think you could recognize 100 / 200  of your closest friends? What about 150 odd  strangers?  A friend of mine could make out between scores of Railway Engines, while couple of kids I know are capable of identifying more than 100 odd Cricketers from different angles !  

Read about the challenge in a   research at the Trentham Monkey Forest  that’s home to 140 Barbary macaques. The researcher before beginning data collation had  to learn the face of every monkey resident. During the six-week data collection trip, goal was to test how monkeys think about their social world. While this type of research, called ‘comparative cognition’ can help inform our understanding about how animals navigate all sorts of situations, it can also improve our understanding of human cognition. Specifically, studying primates can help us make inferences how human cognition evolved. It is impossible to go back and time and see what our last common ancestor could think about.  

As humans, we have supreme inflated ego and think that  we are able to track other people’s perspectives and even take into consideration what someone might know about someone else’s perspective. We know what others see !! know, and feel, and are pretty good at making predictions about how other people will act based on this information. This ability is what psychologists refer to as ‘theory of mind’ and was long believed to be human unique.  

In one research – infant  monkeys were reared with no exposure to any faces for 6–24 months. Before being allowed to see a face, the monkeys showed a preference for human and monkey faces in photographs, and they discriminated human faces as well as monkey faces. After the deprivation period, the monkeys were exposed first to either human or monkey faces for a month. Soon after, the monkeys selectively discriminated the exposed species of face and showed a marked difficulty in regaining the ability to discriminate the other nonexposed species of face. These results indicate the existence of an experience-independent ability for face processing as well as an apparent sensitive period during which a broad but flexible face prototype develops into a concrete one for efficient processing of familiar faces.  

Nothing so serious, some beautiful monkey is what this photo taken at Melukote Thirunarayanapuram is all about.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Aug 2022.

6th Aug 2022. 

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