News 13 February 2021

Scientists have taught a group of pigs how to play video games

13 February 2021

In a study designed to investigate the cognitive processes of farm animals, psychologists have successfully taught pigs how to play video games.

The experiment taught pigs to move a joystick controller with their snouts.

After successfully learning this, the pigs were then taught how to use joystick to operate the game.

In a journal published in Frontiers, the scientists said in a statement,

“Each pig performed the tasks well above chance, indicating the animal understood that the movement of the joystick was connected to the cursor on the computer screen.”

They added, “This sort of study is important because, as with any sentient beings, how we interact with pigs and what we do to them impacts and matters to them.”

We therefore have an ethical obligation to understand how pigs acquire information, and what they are capable of learning and remembering, because it ultimately has implications for how they perceive their interactions with us and their environments.”

“It is no small feat for an animal to grasp the concept that the behaviour they are performing is having an effect elsewhere. That pigs can do this to any degree should give us pause as to what else they are capable of learning and how such learning may impact them.” 

In other animal news, PETA recently called out humans for using animal insults like “pig” and “chicken” that “perpetuate speciesism”.

PETA said, “Speciesist language isn’t just harmful, but it is also inaccurate. Pigs, for instance, are intelligent, lead complex social lives, and show empathy for other pigs in distress. Snakes are clever, have family relationships, and prefer to associate with their relatives.”

“PETA urges everyone who believes in equality and justice to take a look at their personal beliefs and the language they use, and break free of this outdated mindset that denigrates other animals. Always be kind and consider not using insults at all.”