Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fun Science 'Smart Monkey' part 1

1. Run the program If it is your first time, learn how to run Java programs.

Numbers 1 to 5 appear at random positions on the screen. After a few seconds the numbers disappear. Point your mouse and click to the square you remember to be '0'. If you are correct it will go away. Now try to click on square '1' - etc.

When you are done, the computer will tell you if you are a human or a smart monkey. Err, what is that supposed to mean?

If you really do well the program assumes you must be a monkey. Professor Matsuzawa of Kyoto University has compared the performance of young monkeys to human students with a computer program similar to the one you ran. The monkeys do much better than us particularly when the numbers are shown less than a fraction of a second. Their memory seems to work differently than ours.

Does the game sound too easy? Then you are ready for part 2 of this activity. We will edit the program so it now shows 9 numbers instead of 5. And you will learn how to control the time interval used to show the numbers before the game starts.

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