Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 599–600 | Cite as

Do young chimpanzees have extraordinary working memory?

  • Peter CookEmail author
  • Margaret Wilson
Notes and Comment


Do chimpanzees have better spatial working memory than humans? In a previous report, a juvenile chimpanzee outperformed 3 university students on memory for briefly displayed digits in a spatial array (Inoue & Matsuzawa, 2007). The authors described these abilities as extraordinary and likened the chimpanzee's performance to eidetic memory. However, the chimpanzee received extensive practice on a non-time-pressured version of the task; the human subjects received none. Here we report that, after adequate practice, 2 university students substantially outperformed the chimpanzee. There is no evidence for a superior or qualitatively different spatial memory system in chimpanzees.


Stimulus Duration Test Block Practice Block Pattern Mask Iconic Memory 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta Cruz

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