The behavior of monkeys is very adaptable to their social context and they develop impressive traits to overcome challenges such as interbreeding. Current Biology Journal published the results of a new data coming from a chimpanzee intelligence experiment. Establishing what the IQ is and frantically testing it in every situation has been a major scientific endeavor for many decades. We do IQ tests in classrooms, labs, offices or at home. So what purpose do these numbers serve? A main function of using the results is that of providing criteria for social differentiation. Turning the lay concept of intelligence into scientific numbers concerned sociologists and anthropologists. Science and technology studies have shown that the concept of ‘objectivity’ is as relative as its opposite term. By spending a lot of time near scientific groups, sociologists looked at the politics of science, how experiments are thought and practiced.
Numbers do not exist outside human experience, which is not a novelty, it is commonsensical. People are neither angels, devils nor robots. Science serves an important function in society by providing a space where a type of truth is conceived. The objective characteristic of scientific results is used as a common ground in debates and policy and it does not come out of ‘pure’ scientific curiosity. It is an indicator of the ideas articulated at one point or another in society.
The chimp has long been known to be one of the closest genetic relative to humans. This is why an IQ test on chimps proves to be very appealing news for many. Social structure needs to base its legitimacy on natural objective undeniable truths. Genetic analyses are instruments well-crafted for the job.
Chimpanzee intelligence experiment performed by looking at cognitive skills
As in any other experiment, scientists from Georgia State University used precise steps. Thirteen identical cognitive tests were given to a number of 99 chimp subjects. After interpreting the results, the researchers claimed that around half of the general intelligence is explained by genetic inheritance.
The head of the research, William Hopkins, from Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, said “The fact that we can establish this in an organism that has none of the baggage of our social-cultural systems points strongly to the role that genes play in their intelligence,”, according to Foxnews.
We do know that animals as the chimps have a rich social-cultural environment. What kind of results we can find out by adapting a human-designed IQ test to a chimpanzee intelligence experiment? Roughly the same results as for human subjects, considering the genetic similarity. The problem is how the results are transported in other debates. When IQ is understood as simply offering an objective criteria to social differentiation, it can very easy, unfortunately, get to back quasi-fascists political decision.