Monkeys behave in similar ways to humans when they come face to face with eerily realistic avatars, according to recently published research.
Researchers have long known that people feel comfortable with things that look like people – but to a certain extent.
With objects that seem real halfway through, be it Android, computer graphics or a hologram, people are starting to feel something feeling strange and strange.
This is known as the creepy valley phenomenon.
Researchers have now discovered that monkeys – rhesus macaque in this case – have a similar response to avatars created to mimic them.
After creating sophisticated-looking images of monkeys, the team of experts played videos of monkey avatars acting like common primates and using eye-tracking software to see how much attention they paid.
In the study, published in the journal eNeuro, the researchers found that monkeys would make peaceful gestures when they came face to face with a realistic avatar.
Moderate-level avatars caused monkeys to respond with a frightened grin reaction.
The study, led by Ramona Siebert, shows that there is evidence that the creepy valley effect has ancient origins.
They also believe the discovery could help researchers who study rhesus monkey behavior to design better experiments.
The study said, “We are introducing a new naturalistic avatar for monkeys and validating it as an appropriate stimulus for studying the social cognition of primates by showing that it causes natural-looking patterns and facial reactions in macaques rather than a ‘creepy one’. evoke avoidance response.
“The fact that a degraded version of the avatar can elicit an uncanny response confirms its existence in monkeys and supports an evolutionary ancient behavioral community shared by monkeys and humans.
“However, since this response can be overcome by a very naturalistic avatar, the creepy valley is clearly not an inevitable consequence of a high degree of realism.”
Research last year showed that monkeys have best friends, which gives them a better chance of survival.
The University of Exeter’s study of female rhesus macaque found that those with the strongest social bond to another macaque were 11% less likely to die in any given year.
In seven-year data, the scientists measured how much time they spent together and how long they had groomed each other’s fur during that time.
Scientists studied the social life of the female monkeys on ‘monkey island’ – Cayo Santiago, off Puerto Rico – where monkeys have been studied for decades.
The team observed a series of social connections in 319 adult female monkeys for seven years.
Dr. Lauren Brent of the University of Exeter said, “Having many social connections can mean that a macaque is widely tolerated – for example, not chased away from food.
“But it seems that having” close friends “offers more important benefits than just being tolerated.”