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May 01

Real Words or Gibberish? Just Ask a Baboon… or a Blogger

NYT BaboonFrom the New York Times Science sections comes, “While baboons can’t read, they can tell the difference between real English words and nonsensical ones, a new study reports. Baboons can master a basic element of reading, says a French team.

“They are using information about letters and the relation between letters to perform the task without any kind of linguistic training,” said one psychologist.

He and his colleagues worked with six baboons that were given free access to touch-screen computers, which displayed four-letter sequences. If a baboon tapped the screen when the sequence was a real word, it received a treat.

“The animal realizes what to do in order to get a reward,” Dr. Grainger said. “And they remember the words; they didn’t forget them.”

A similar study is being done on homebuilders who blog…