Thursday, December 24, 2015

Visiting the The University of Tokyo and Primate Research Institute in Inuyama

I had a wonderful few days in Tokyo for a small symposium and workshop organized by Kazua Okanoya (e.g., ten Cate & Okanoya, 2012) and a full day at the Kyoto Primate Research Institute as a guest of Yuko Hattori (e.g., Hattori et al., 2013, Hattori et al., 2015)

In Tokyo I met with several researchers working on rhythm, time perception and music, including Shinichi Furuya (Sophia University, Japan), Yoshimasa Seki (Aichi University, Japan), Noriko Katsu (Osaka University, Japan), Florian Waszak (Université Paris Descartes, France), and Kazuo Okanoya (Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan). It was a great afternoon that was wrapped up with a diner in a local restaurant were, in a round of introductions of the about twenty people that were present, there was singing, Japanse rap and a tenor version of Ave Maria! For abstracts of the workshop see here.

A few days later I visited the Primate Research Institute (KUPRI) in Inuyama. Yuko Hattori was a superb host, showing me the elaborate facilities and allowing me to attend several ongoing experiments on visual and auditory cognition. I met with Ai, Ayumu and Akira and several other chimpansees well-known from the literature (see earlier blogs). Meeting Ai for the first time, after reading so much about her, was quite an emotional moment. See Ai doing one of her famous experiments below:

 Try to remember the position of the numbers on the screen, and then tap them out in ascending order. First you see me doing the task, and then Ai. Impressive, not?

ResearchBlogging.orgHattori, Y., Tomonaga, M., & Matsuzawa, T. (2013). Spontaneous synchronized tapping to an auditory rhythm in a chimpanzee Scientific Reports, 3 DOI: 10.1038/srep01566

ResearchBlogging.orgHattori, Y., Tomonaga, M., & Matsuzawa, T. (2015). Distractor Effect of Auditory Rhythms on Self-Paced Tapping in Chimpanzees and Humans PLOS ONE, 10 (7) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130682

ResearchBlogging.orgten Cate, C., & Okanoya, K. (2012). Revisiting the syntactic abilities of non-human animals: natural vocalizations and artificial grammar learning Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367 (1598), 1984-1994 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0055