Pigs can play video games with their snouts, scientists say

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Scientists have discovered that pigs can be trained to play video game simple, demonstrating the potential of animals for a level “notable” of mental and behavioral flexibility.

A BBC report presented a wealth of information on pigs’ ability to play video games, drawn from a research article published in a Frontiers in Psychology journal entry. The document details an investigation into whether pigs are capable of playing a section of a video game with a joystick. And it emphasizes four pigs (Hamlet, Omelet, Ivory and Ebony) trained to move a joystick with their snouts to direct an on-screen cursor.

The pigs were required to move the cursor to make contact with randomly placed walled targets, and were given a reward if the cursor collided with a target. However, the researchers noted that the pigs exhibited a “high level of social motivation to perform the task” and they continued to play even when they were not given a food reward due to the coach’s social encouragement.

Image Credit: Eston Martz / Pennsylvania State University
Image Credit: Eston Martz / Pennsylvania State University

“This type of study is important because, as with any sentient being, the way we interact with pigs and what we do to them affects and matters to them.”said Dr. Candace Croney, lead author of the study.

Analysis of game session data showed that neither Hamlet nor Omelet achieved significant performance on three-wall targets, but they performed “above probability” on one-wall targets and two-wall targets, with a “78 and 70% correct answers” in the last. Ivory and Ebony were more successful than expected (by chance) on three wall targets, but had a bigger mismatch on one wall targets.

Ultimately, the researchers were pleased that the pigs had the ability to tackle the joystick-operated video game task, although they also noted that future studies on the cognitive behaviors of domestic species may benefit from the use of touch screens or other. advanced computer interface technology due to dexterity and visual limitations.

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Similar experiments have been done with chimpanzees and monkeys, which have been shown to be even more adept, with their opposable thumbs and fingers moving individually, giving them an advantage.

However, it remains to be seen what might happen when a monkey plays video games in his own mind. Elon Musk might have the answer for us soon, as he claimed that one of his companies has implanted a device in the brain of a monkey and hopes it will play “Pong mental” with another cyborg monkey.