Birdspot. On the road. Drawing birds.

Second sitting. This monkey was #49, also known as Corn.

In other news, there are helicopters everywhere outside my studio right now as a SECOND person is attempting to scale the New York Times building (earlier today, the French stuntman Alain Robert succeeded in free climbing all 52 stories before being arrested at the top. He was protesting global warming; who knows what the second man is doing it for). My favorite comment from the somewhat listless but still sometimes brilliant Gawker: “Perhaps he’s always wanted to play a Renzo Piano?”

6 Responses to “june 5”

  1. I love his name… did he love to eat corn?
    His name also reminds me of Pollan’s book ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’ which I know you’ve read. I’m still working on finishing it.

  2. I think all of the monkeys’ names were drug euphemisms or something like that – it was the 70′s…

  3. Not all the names were drug euphemisms, though many were. Most were short and easily translated into 3-letter identity codes for publication. Betty knows more about this than I . . .

  4. Betty:
    We’re waiting breathlessly for your clarification of this burning issue.

    Catherine (omg that sounds so formal):
    You’ve definitely captured the essence of Rhesus with this one.

  5. We usually bought monkeys in groups of four, and a group was often named “thematically”. The late Su Tieman and her co-grad students at Stanford went through a mythology stage, but being forced to write names such as Antigone and Persephone several times a day became onerous. Thus, Catherine’s dad (Head of Lab) issued an edict that names should be SHORT. The monkeys were tested behaviorally for their learning abilities, and this was in the pre-computer days, so names, data, statistics were written out BY HAND (collective gasp from the younger set here…). There was indeed a group named with drug euphenisms (Pot, Boo, Tea, Dope, Grass, Weed, Hash, etc), but there was also a Watergate group (Hunt, Liddy, Edgar, etc), a Lord of the Rings group (Frodo, etc), a Muppets group, a Bloom County group, and some just came from a list of nice names. Corn was my doing, in the “cereal group”: Oats, Bran, Rye, and Corn.

    However, we never referred to any monkey by name in a publication or presentation, for a specific reason: no single animal was to become famous by itself because the results of the studies were in the group statistics. For example, the group as a whole showed hemispheric specialization for learning various specific visual discriminations (aka left-brain, right brain differences). No Washoe, Koko, Alex, or Clever Hans here. So the names were condensed to a three-letter code: OTS, BRN, RYE, CRN.

    The photos Catherine is using were all taken to be used in stimulus sets for facial recognition and discrimination, usually a right-hemisphere task in people, and, as Cathy’s dad and I found, in the monkeys as well.

  6. Thank you, Betty. I knew you’d come through.

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