We all know the happy feeling we get from completing a tricky or challenging puzzle—the feeling of success that is in itself a reward for a job well done. But now there’s been a discovery that that same feeling we experience working on jigsaws and brain teasers doesn’t just affect humans—it also affects chimpanzees!
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found in a study published last month that chimpanzees “get the same feeling of satisfaction from completing tricky puzzles.” A system of pipes was designed with a goal of moving dice through the maze with a stick until the dice fell into an exit chamber. Nuts were exchanged for dice and the exit chamber removed so that the reward was a tasty treat, but the scientists found that the chimps seemed keen on the game regardless of an external reward.
It was a voluntary activity that became part of the chimps’ daily routine, even when it became more challenging. A more intricate version of the maze was created with more pipes that were opaque. The chimps had to look through small holes in order to see the dice. They had no training and seemed to enjoy the cognitive challenge for the sake of the challenge itself.
To learn more about the chimpanzees in the study (named Phil, Grant, and Elvis!) and the findings of this study, just click the picture below of Phil playing with a puzzle at Whipsnade Zoo.
Monkey around with some of our primate and jungle puzzles and enjoy the feel-good effects, too!