Today’s Video of the Day from Aalto University describes how screen time improves the lives of saki monkeys in captivity.
In collaboration with Korkeasaari Zoo, the researchers built an on-demand video device for white-faced saki monkeys to activate whenever they want.
“We were very much interested in how we can give animals control over their environment and especially how they can control technology,” said study lead author Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas.
“Typically, when we use technology with animals, we use it on them, so we play them sounds or video, rather than giving them the option of controlling the technology themselves.”
The device played five different kinds of scenes: marine life such as jellyfish, wiggly worms, zoo animals like zebras, makis and dear, abstract art, or lush forests.
“We got interesting results. First of all, we learned that the monkeys do pay attention to the screen; they watch it and touch it. We also suspect they recognize objects on the screen. One of the videos we had featured meal worms – an everyday meal for them. They actually tried to lick the screen and even went around the tunnel to see if the worms were behind it,” said study co-author Vilma Kankaanpää.
The saki monkeys scratched themselves significantly less often when they were offered on-demand videos. For monkeys in captivity, scratching can be a sign of stress.
Video Credit: Aalto University