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Science & Technology

Scientists teach pigs how to play video games

By T.K. Randall
February 13, 2021 · Comment icon 11 comments

Pigs are capable of playing video games. Image Credit: Pennsylvania State University
A new study has demonstrated just how quickly pigs can adapt to tasks that were previously totally alien to them.
The fact that pigs are remarkably intelligent is nothing new, but what isn't as well known is just how capable these animals actually are at adapting to new tasks in unfamiliar environments.

For a recent study, scientists recruited four pigs - two Yorkshire pigs named Hamlet and Omelet, and two Panepinto pigs named Ebony and Ivory - which were all kept at Pennsylvania State University.

An experiment was devised which involved having the pigs move a cursor across a computer screen by manipulating a joystick with their snouts. If the cursor hit a wall, the pig was rewarded with a treat.

The test had been designed for monkeys, however it turned out that the pigs were quite capable of learning how to manipulate the cursor using the joystick and could even complete the game when it featured fewer walls, thus making the task of hitting one more difficult.
One of the pigs even managed to achieve a 76% win rate at the highest difficulty setting.

Overall they weren't quite as good at moving the joystick as the monkeys, however that could be because, unlike the monkeys, they had to control it using their snouts.

"That the pigs achieved the level of success they did on a task that was significantly outside their normal frame of reference in itself remarkable, and indicative of their behavioral and cognitive flexibility," the study authors wrote.

"[The pigs] continued to make correct responses when rewarded only with verbal and tactile reinforcement from the experimenter, who was also their primary caretaker."

Source: Huffington Post | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by pallidin 3 years ago
Damn it, Eldorado, I was just getting ready to carve-up my pig for breakfast, but now I've lost my appetite. Thanks a lot, F-R-I-E-N-DDDDD  
Comment icon #3 Posted by openozy 3 years ago
That's it, when we discover how individual and intelligent our food animals really are we will end up starving. They won't, they're too smart for that.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Obscurum 3 years ago
"Pigs can be trained to use joysticks." My ex girlfriend would say: "This is nothing new, but try getting them to commit in a relationship!"
Comment icon #5 Posted by godnodog 3 years ago
Flying pigs, coming soon thanks to MS Flight Simulator
Comment icon #6 Posted by wolfpackin 3 years ago
I wonder who is paying these "scientists" to conduct these useless studies? Oh that's right, we are.
Comment icon #7 Posted by toast 3 years ago
September 2089: pigs take the first ever Mars base into operation.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Cookie Monster 3 years ago
A pig will do anything for food.
Comment icon #9 Posted by cathya 3 years ago
Just goes to show, anyone can play these stupid, mind numbing games. I think most politicians today are playing them...why not pigs? Pigs probably score higher than them, too.
Comment icon #10 Posted by openozy 3 years ago
I've got nothing against eating meat and have hunted wild pigs but there is something decadent, almost taboo about eating them. The meat, the fat and the best part, the crackling are almost too good and I'll regret it the day I have a fatal heart attack, lol.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Hammerclaw 3 years ago
I'll have more respect for my bacon this morning.

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