14 February 2009

College kids are better than monkeys

A misleading headline from MSN: College Kids and Monkeys About Equal on Math.

This is in reference to the work of Elizabeth Brannon, who actually claims that certain monkeys have an intuitive "number sense" which is as good as humans; see for example this article. Despite what those of us who teach college students may occasionally think, they are better at mathematics than monkeys.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

As a college mathematics student, I can say that sometimes it feels like monkey could do the same work as I. I also notice that some of my peers are only about as intelligent as monkeys occasionally (and smell like them too...we are in college).

With that being said, if a monkey could apply the simplex method to a large system of equations, figure out the hamiltonian cycle inside of a dodecahedron, recite phi to one-hundred digits, or perhaps just calculate the odds of me graduating on time, then by all means let him do it! We need some more diversity in this field. Bring on the monkeys!