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动物们究竟有多聪明 – 译学馆
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动物们究竟有多聪明

How Smart Are Animals, Really?

我们时常听说某些动物有多么聪明从会解谜的章鱼到会用工具的鸟
We’re always hearing about how smart certain animals are, from octopuses that solve puzzles to birds that use tools.
我们之中谁不好奇猫和狗哪个更聪明呢?
And who among us hasn’t wondered whether our cats are secretly much smarter than our dogs?
但动物的智力是真的很难定义 更难测量
But animal intelligence is actually really tricky to define — and even harder to measure.
就像我们正在谈论的创新能力 或是做算术的能力 以及记住隐藏方位的能力
Like are we talking about the ability to innovate? To do arithmetic? To remember hiding places?
或是我们正讨论的动物能从同类中学习或是欺骗同类?
Or are we talking being able to learn from, or maybe deceive, fellow creatures?
即使科学家认同动物的智力到底是什么他们仍需要设计测试
来客观地测量这些动物的能力
Even if scientists can agree on what intelligence actually is, they still need to design tests that measure these abilities objectively.
这并不容易
And that is not easy.
首先 通常用于激励动物做实验的是食物
For one thing, food is usually used to motivate animals in the experiments.
但如果你的受试对象并不饿它们就不会乖乖配合测试
But if your subjects aren’t hungry, they won’t always cooperate.
如果它们不是同样饿的话 那么你的数据是没有用的
And if they’re not all equally hungry, then your data are kinda useless.
但是某些特定的测试在这些年变得流行并被用于各种不同的物种
But a few specific tests have become very popular over the years, and have been used on a variety of species.
在一个被称为指向实验的测试中动物被假设希望找到隐藏在某个地方的食物
In one, called the pointing test, and animal is conditioned to expect food to be hidden in a certain place.
一旦它们找到食物 一个人将会把食物藏到新的地点
Once they find the food, the hidden treat is moved, and a human points to the new spot.
如果动物能够抓住线索 然后走到新的位置
If the animal can take the hint — and go over to the new location — that’s supposed
这表明动物有能力理解其他动物的想法
to indicate the ability to understand what another animal is thinking.
毕竟 如果你能从另一动物那得到新的信息
After all, if you can learn new information from another animal — like, the food isn’t
比如食物不在你以为的地方 而在别的地方那么看来你至少有点小聪明
where you think it is, it’s over there — then it seems like you must at least be a little smart.
另一个常见的实验是镜子测试
Another common experiment is the mirror test.
这个实验的目的是测试一个动物是否有识别自身的能力
It’s supposed to measure an animal’s ability to recognize itself.
一些科学家说这种能力能反映动物是否拥有自我意识
This ability, some scientists say, is an indicator of self-awareness — suggesting that the creatures
表明该生物能否分辨出个体和自我身份
can conceive of things like individuality and identity.
所以在镜子测试时 研究者在实验动物的额头上做了标记 并将一面镜子放置在实验动物面前
So in the mirror test, researchers put a mark on an animal’s forehead and put a mirror in front of it.
如果实验动物有高度的自我意识 它将会明白镜子显示的形象是它自己
If the animal is highly self-aware — the thinking goes — it will realize that it’s
并且展现出触碰或者抚摸脸上研究者所做的标记的行为
looking at itself in the mirror, and show that by touching or rubbing the strange mark on its face.
狗狗们 像你猜测的那样 在指向实验中表现优异
Dogs, as you might guess, ace the pointing test.
但它们在镜子测试中输的很可怜 有的还很可爱
But they fail at the mirror test miserably, and sometimes adorably.
它们大多只是想和镜像玩耍或尖叫
They usually just want to play with, or bark, at their reflections.
但这真的能说明狗狗们没有自我意识吗?
But does that really mean that dogs aren’t aware of themselves?
一些科学家说不能
Some scientists say no.
事实上 许多人认为这两种测试都有缺陷
In fact, many argue that both of these tests are flawed.
毕竟 指向实验和镜子测试对没有手和手指或不依赖视觉的动物来说
有什么意义呢?
After all, how relevant are pointing and mirrors to animals that don’t have hands or fingers or that don’t rely on vision?
并且这些测试通常都只有很小的样本量像是有11头大象的指向实验
These studies also usually have really small sample sizes — like 11 elephants in one pointing
这导致实验结果代表性较小很难用于一种物种同另一物种的比较
test — which makes it hard to compare one whole species to another.
所以 在2014年 一个国际科学家团队决定更系统地处理关于动物智力的问题
So, in 2014, an international team of scientists decided to tackle the question of animal intelligence more systematically.
他们挑选了一个被认为是最能体现公平的心智能力进行测试
They picked a single mental ability that they thought they could evaluate most fairly, and
并且对超过36个物种500多只动物做了同样的测试
then performed the same tests on more than 500 animals across 36 species.
他们选择测试动物的自控力
They chose to test for self control.
这看起来可能不像是智力但能够抑制强大和适得其反的冲动
是决策的重要组成部分
That might not seem like intelligence, but being able to suppress a powerful but counterproductive urge is an important part of making decisions,
无论你是一只鸟或是一个人或是一只食蚁兽
whether you’re a bird or a human or an aardvark.
为了测试动物的自控力研究者做了两个实验
To measure self control, the researchers used two tests.
在一个实验中 一块食物从一个箱子底部被移动到另一个箱子底部
In one, a piece of food was moved from under one box to under another.
动物们被测试是否能忍耐观察第一个箱子的冲动
Animals were tested on whether they’d resist the urge to keep looking under the first box
这和指向实验有一点像但减少了指向的过程
– kind of like a pointing test, minus the pointing.
在第二个实验中 食物被放置在一个透明塑料管中
In the second test, food was placed in the middle of a clear plastic tube.
动物需要从管子的一侧获取食物 而不是直接从管子中得到食物
The animals then had to go around to the side to get the food, instead of just trying to reach through the tube.
这两个实验都测试了动物抗拒本能以获得奖励的能力
Both tasks tested animals’ ability to go against their instincts to get a reward.
那些你通常认为很聪明的动物表现非常出色
And the animals you generally think of as smart came out on top.
猿类表现的比鸟类出色犬类的表现在众多动物中居中
Apes outperformed birds, for instance, and dogs were somewhere in the middle.
这些什么可惊讶的
So no shockers there.
但是看看这幅图吧这有一些惊人的发现
But looking at the big picture, there were a couple of surprises.
一方面 不同物种的得分与他们大脑的绝对大小有关
For one thing, the scores of different species correlated with their absolute brain size.
在过去 科学家们认为最聪明的动物是那些
In the past, scientists had thought that the smartest animals would be the ones that had
相对于躯体而言有着更大头脑的动物
big brains relative to the size of their bodies.
但在这里我们看到似乎更重要的是整个头部的大小
But here, all that seemed to matter was the overall size.
另一方面 在灵长类动物中 研究人员经过测试发现
And among the primates that the researchers tested, there was no link between how well
灵长类动物的表现和他们通常生活在多大的群体之间
并没有什么联系
they did, and how large the groups are that their species usually lives in.
这很重要因为它违背了灵长类的智力进化是为了
This was important, because it contradicts the idea that primate intelligence evolved
帮助我们处理复杂社会关系的观点
to help us deal with complex social situations.
相反 研究发现具有最好自我控制能力的灵长类原来是那些 有着多样化食物的动物
Instead, the primates with the best self control turned out to be the ones that had the most varied diets.
这表明他们的智慧帮助他们记录在野外的各种各样的食物
This suggested that their smarts help them keep track of a wide range of foods in the
像不同的果树生长在哪里 在什么季节结果
wild, like where different fruit trees grow and when they’re in season.
当然 这项研究虽然野心勃勃但并不是动物智力的最终定论
Of course, the study, as ambitious as it is, isn’t the final word on animal intelligence.
不过它确实提供了一些线索说明为什么我们和其他动物可以进化出智慧
But it does offer some clues as to why we and other animals might have evolved certain abilities.
较大的头脑意味着有更多的神经元而拥有更多神经元使动物有进化出复杂精巧的神经网络的可能
Bigger brains mean more neurons, and having more of them might have allowed animals to evolve specialized networks.
即使我们仍未解开有关动物智力的所有谜团 我们确实知道了一件事——
Even if we haven’t solved all of the mysteries of animal intelligence, we do know one thing
人类复杂的大脑也许并没有我们认为的那么独特
— our sophisticated brains aren’t as unique as we might like to think.
如果你想了解更多有关你的大脑以及它是如何工作的 那你完全可以
If you’d like to learn more about your brain and how it works, then you should totally
关注我们的新频道——科学心理秀它的内容全和人类心智的运作有关
check out our new channel, SciShow Psych — it’s all about the workings of the human mind.
当然也不要忘记去youtube.com/scishow 订阅 这将帮助我们并且
And of course don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe here, that helps us out, and
你也能一直学到科学知识
also, you get science, all the time.

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视频概述

科学家们对动物智力进行多种测试。通过指向实验、镜子测试、自控力测试,发现动物智力与头脑的绝对大小有关

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风吹桃

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VfYyz8Zpho

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