Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Chimp's Point Of View

Charles Q Choi, ISNS Contributor
Date: 10 April 2013 Time: 04:50 PM ET

(ISNS) -- Chimps with camera goggles on their heads are helping scientists learn how the apes literally see the world. 

From a scientific perspective, the eyes are windows to the mind. What people watch is one key sign of what they might be thinking, so monitoring their gazes can help researchers learn about what is going on inside people's heads.
These two images show chimpanzee Pan wearing an eye-tracking system
on her head (A) and also a picture from the outward-facing camera
 on Pan's headset (B). The cross mark in the lower-right corner
 shows where Pan's gaze is directed.

CREDIT: Fumihiro Kano and Masaki Tomonaga | http://bit.ly/17riq0m 

Scientists have conducted eye-tracking studies on people for more than 100 years. However, comparably little work has been conducted with other primates. Such work promises to shed light on humanity's closest living relatives, and how they might perceive the world differently. 

"If we know the differences between chimpanzees and humans, we will have an insight into how human perception has evolved," said comparative psychologist Fumihiro Kano at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany

Until recently, eye-tracking research involved desk-sized machines confined to labs. Investigators now have access to portable, wearable eye-trackers, enabling scientists to learn how people look at and interact with the world in a more natural way. This enables them to research topics such as how experts look at the world differently from novices. Now Kano and his colleagues are using these devices to study chimps.

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