Study Finds Primates Can Move in Unison, Just As Humans Do

Primates alter their body movements in order to be in tune with others

By on January 28th, 2013 19:41 GMT
A team of Japanese researchers working with the RIKEN Brain Science now claim that, after conducting several laboratory-based experiments, they have reached the conclusion that primates are well capable of moving in unison.

More precisely, these researchers maintain that the monkeys taken into consideration for this study could modify their body movements so as to make sure that they were tuned in with one another.

For those unaware, humans resort to walking, clapping or doing other things in unison in order to prove that they are well connected. As well as this, moving in unison with an individual is believed to make communication easier.

However, it now looks like primates are also capable of spontaneous synchronization, and the Japanese researchers who forwarded this theory speculate that their displaying such a behavior might have something to do with the need to survive in the wild, EurekAlert! reports.

As the researchers put it, “The reasons why the monkeys showed behavioral synchronization are not clear. It may be a vital aspect of other socially adaptive behavior, important for survival in the wild.”

According to the same source, the monkeys that took part in these experiments were merely made to push a button, both alone, and while in the company of another one of their kind.

When paired and placed facing each other, the monkeys did their best to synchronize their movements and more often than not ended up pushing the button at roughly the same time.

Interestingly enough, the monkeys also modified their behavior when introduced to a video showing another primate performing the same tasks.

In other words, their reaction was pretty much the same, regardless of whether they were looking at a real-life peer or a video of one.

The findings of this research were published in the journal Scientific Reports, and the Japanese scientists hope that their study will eventually lead to a better understanding of human behavioral dysfunctions such as those linked to autism spectrum disorders.

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