Who in the world would have thought that Pigs could also play Video games but recently an interesting piece of news has come from Yorkshire, England in which Scientists have trained four pigs to play video games by using their snouts. Hamlet, Omelette, Ebony, and Ivory were the four pigs who were trained by Scientists to play video games. The quartet was the focus of a study to see whether they could learn to play a video game or not. These scientists used an arcade-style joystick to try and teach these pigs to play the games by using their snouts. The Scientists were really surprised by their playing style and their capability of understanding things as they were pretty good at this.
The Objective of this Video Games Experiment
Dr. Candace Croney, a specialist in Purdue animal behavior along with Sarah Boysen were in the process of doing a study on the pigs to investigate their cognitive processes (such as memory, attention, and conceptualization) which they published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology on Thursday. In the journal, they said: “This sort of study is important because, as with any sentient beings, how we interact with pigs and what we do to them impacts and matters to them.
” The pigs were first taught how to use the joystick by using their snouts and understand the game played by them from their monitor screens. The researchers encouraged them with kind words and we’re rewarding them with Food Pellets for every time they passed a level in the game. But after some time, they still continued with their game, even when their food pellets are broken down, which showed their behavior for social contact.
The study was small and limited in scope, but it could have implications for scientists’ understanding of pig intelligence and the animals’ ability to learn.
The outcome from Video Games Experiment
Among the four pigs, Hamlet was a better video game player than Omelette, but both of them struggled as the levels rose up. They hit the single target just under half the time. Whereas, Ivory was able to hit one-wall targets 76% of the time, while Ebony could only do it 34% of the time but they were also pretty slow when compared to Hamlet and Omelet as the Panepinto Micro pigs could not master the level of skill that was needed to complete the task which was set by Hamlet and Omelet but they still mastered the concept of the game fully.
The fact that these animals don’t have a hand or a thumb to play and the only thing they can use is their snout to move their joystick was termed ‘remarkable’. They made a statement that the fact that these pigs could understand the use of the joystick and were capable of understanding the game was “no a small feet” to be achieved. The study also showed their behavior for social contact.
The Shortcomings of this experiment
Frontiers said the pigs “failed to meet the criteria used for primates to demonstrate full mastery of the concept,” but they suspected that this may be connected to the way the experiment functions. It wasn’t designed for far-sighted animals with limited dexterity and suggested that a touchscreen would have been a better option.
Dr. Croney said: “It is no small feat for an animal to grasp the concept that the behavior they are performing is having an effect elsewhere,” she also added by saying: “That pigs can do this to any degree should give us pause as to what else they are capable of learning and how such learning may impact them.”
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