Chimpanzees socialise with robots, says University of Portsmouth

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CHIMPANZEES are willing to socialise with robots, new research has revealed.

It is the first time that robots have been used to study behaviour in primates other than humans.

The study, by researchers at the University of Portsmouth, shows that chimps respond to even basic movements made by a robot, demonstrating that chimps want to communicate and interact with other ‘creatures’ on a social level.

The researchers believe that these basic forms of communication in chimpanzees help to promote greater social bonding and lead to more complex forms of social interaction.

Lead researcher, Dr Marina Davila-Ross, is from the university’s Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology.

She said: ‘It was especially fascinating to see that the chimps recognised when they were being imitated by the robot because imitation helps to promote their social bonding.

‘They showed less active interest when they saw the robot imitate a human.

‘Some of the chimps gave the robot toys and other objects and demonstrated an active interest in communicating. This kind of behaviour helps to promote social interactions and friendships.’