Zoologists have found that monkeys recognize familiar faces even in masks

Monkeys react differently to familiar and unfamiliar faces. An article about this is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Researchers from the American Johns Hopkins University studied how the behavior of monkeys differs from visitors and zookeepers. They focused on a dozen large primates living at the Lincoln Zoo in Chicago. They were shown pictures of familiar and unfamiliar faces on a touch screen.

Two photographs were displayed for 30 seconds, after which both disappeared, and one was replaced by a dot, the touch of which led to a sound signal and the issuance of fruit.

“We found that, on average, subjects were about 11 percent slower to touch a point when it replaced a familiar face,” the authors write. If the face was wearing a medical mask, the difference was 9 percent. The researchers conclude that the attention of animals was riveted primarily to a stranger. The same thing scientists have previously noticed in human babies: first of all, they pay attention to strangers.

Moreover, if the faces expressed surprise, there was almost no difference in reactions to familiar and unfamiliar people.

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