These pigs show their intelligence by playing video games | Digital Trends Spanish


It is common for scientists to carry out various tests to measure the intelligence and abilities of animals, especially pigs, considered one of the most intelligent species.

In the late 1990s, for example, a group of scientists conducted experiments on two Yorkshire pigs named Hamlet and Omelet, and two smaller pigs, Ebony and Ivory.

The tests consisted of measuring the response of the animals while playing video games, now considered retro, but which were fashionable at that time.

Despite the time that has passed, the results of the study had not been published until now, which appeared in an article in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Eston Martz / Pennsylvania State University

What did they discover?

At work, the researchers found that despite the animals’ visual and dexterity limitations, the pigs were able to understand and achieve goals in simple computer games.

“What they were able to do was perform well above the possibility of achieving these objectives,” he explained to Gizmodo Candace Croney, director of the Animal Welfare Science Center at Purdue University and lead author of the paper.

“And far enough above chance that it’s very clear that they had some conceptual understanding of what they were being asked to do.”

The investigation is the result of 20 years of work initiated by Croney herself. Together with his team, they followed the response of the four pigs as they tried to move a cursor to a lit area on the computer screen.

During the tests, the pigs were given the incentive that if they played well, they would get a better meal. Thus, the animals understood what was expected of them and were able to develop a skill while playing.

According to the researchers, after a while the animals themselves wanted to play and made an effort to be the first to leave their pens.

The fact that pigs were aware that their actions determined their near future, and that these could have an impact on their life, is a good indicator of their cognitive flexibility. In this way, it is clear that these animals are more intelligent than is thought.

The good news, at least for those of us who care about animal rights, is that after the experiment the four pigs were adopted and they continued with their lives living on farms, far from the experiments and laboratory tests.

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