Evening the score
When Ai, mother of the chimp Amuyu, whose mental feats you reported in "Chimp Champ: Ape aces memory test, outscores people" (SN: 12/8/07, p. 355), appeared in a television documentary a few years ago, I reproduced for myself the number-sequence test she performed and found that, after practice, I could easily outperform her. After reading about Amuyu, I tried the number-recall tests that he and the Kyoto students did. With five digits exposed for 210 milliseconds, I had about a 70 percent success rate—not quite as well as Amuyu, but better than the students. I conclude that conditioning plays a large role in performance.
Merlijn van Veen
Westervoort, The Netherlands
In "North by Northwest" (SN: 12/22 & 29/07, p. 392), I believe that the term declination was used in error. On