A group of researchers from the University of Pardue, in the United States, taught four pigs to use a joystick, a control device used in video games. In the experiment, the animals – called Hamlet, Omelette, Ebony and Ivory – needed to move the control with their snout, guiding the cursor to the four target walls displayed on the screen.
According to details published in the magazine Frontiers in Psychology, the animals were able to play a simple video game, demonstrating basic knowledge. The research, according to the team, demonstrates a remarkable level of mental and behavioral flexibility of the piggies, despite having visual limitations and not having opposite thumbs.
In a statement, Professor Candace Croney said that he already knew about the pigs’ intelligence – animals that even learn basic commands, such as “come” or “sit down” – and that now the team intends to take a break to understand what they are able to learn.
“This type of study is important because, as with any sentient being, the way we interact with pigs and what we do with them has an impact and importance for them. We have an ethical obligation to understand how pigs acquire information and what they are able to learn and remember, because it has implications for how they perceive their interactions with us and their environments, ”says Croney.