Monkeys in zoos could get their own “primate version” of Spotify and Netflix as part of a research project by university scientists.
Glasgow University specialists have developed a ‘monkey media player’ that allows primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans to use interactive computer-based systems to access sound and video.
The touchscreen systems entertain and engage animals with interactions that stimulate cognition in ways they might do in the wild.
Researchers have focused on a group of three white-faced saki monkeys at Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki, Finland, and how they respond to auditory and visual stimuli such as Spotify or Netflix with a primate focus.
A small computer was played in a wooden and plastic tunnel located in the monkeys’ enclosure.
The primates triggered a video or sound by walking through infrared rays and could listen or watch for as long as they wanted.
It was placed in the enclosure for 32 days and monkeys could observe the sound of rain, music or traffic, videos of worms, underwater scenes or abstract shapes and colors.
The device recorded what they saw and heard, and found that the sakis’ interactions were mostly brief, lasting only a few seconds.
Over time, their interactions decreased, but they interacted more with visual stimuli than with audio stimuli.
The research was carried out by Dr. Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas from the university together with her colleague Vilma Kankaanpaa from Aalto University in Finland.
dr Hirskyj-Douglas said: “We have been working with Korkeasaari Zoo for several years now to learn more about how white-faced sakis could benefit from computer systems specially designed for them.
“Previously we’ve looked at how they interact with video content and audio content, but this is the first time we’re offering the ability to choose between the two.
“Our results raise a number of questions worth investigating further to help us build effective interactive enrichment systems.”
“Further study could help us determine whether the brief interactions were simply part of their typical behavior or reflected their interest in the system.
“Similarly, their varying levels of interaction over time could reflect how engaging they found the content, or simply that they became accustomed to the tunnel’s presence in their enclosure.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/13/monkeys-given-own-versions-of-netflix-and-spotify-to-see-what-happened-16816833/ Monkeys gave their own versions of Netflix and Spotify to see what happened