Tetsuro Matsuzawa

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Tetsuro Matsuzawa
松沢 哲郎
L'unicitàDell'immaginazione (10) (24341037218).jpg
Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Born (1950-10-15) October 15, 1950 (age 71)
Alma materKyoto University
Known forprimatology
AwardsJane Goodall Award in 2001
Scientific career
ThesisHierarchy of visual perception in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) (1989)
Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Japanese name
Kanji松沢 哲郎

Tetsuro Matsuzawa (松沢 哲郎, Matsuzawa Tetsurō, born October 15, 1950) is a primatologist who was a past director of the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University. He graduated from Kyoto University with a B.A. degree in 1974, a Psy.M. degree in 1976 and a Ph.D. degree in Science in 1989.[1]

Matsuzawa is known for his research on chimpanzee intelligence both in the laboratory and in the wild. His laboratory work consists of the Ai-project, which focuses on the language-like skills, number-concepts, and memory ability of a female chimpanzee named Ai. Started in 1978, it is one of the longest running laboratory research projects on chimpanzee intelligence. Matsuzawa has been a part of the project since the beginning. Matsuzawa has also studied tool use in the wild chimpanzees at Bossou, Guinea, West Africa since 1986. The bossou chimpanzee community consists of about 12 individuals and has been studied by Japanese researchers for three decades. Bossou chimps are well known to use a pair of stones as hammer and anvil to crack open oil-palm nuts. Long-term research on wild chimpanzee tool use revealed interesting topics like handedness of use of a hammer, critical period of learning nut-cracking at around 3 to 5 year old, "education by master-apprenticeship" and observational learning, possession of stones, deception, new tool use like algae-scooping, use of leaves for cushions, cultural variation in adjacent communities, etc. Matsuzawa's approach to research is to synthesize the field work and the laboratory work in order to understand the nature of chimpanzees, our evolutionary neighbors.

Matsuzawa is well known for his research on chimpanzee memory, which suggests that chimpanzees outperform humans on some simple memory tasks.[2][3][4][5][6] He has argued that this is evidence of a memorial capacity in young chimpanzees that is superior to that seen in adult humans.[2] However, the accuracy of these findings has been disputed. A. Silberberg and D. Kearns have argued that the performance difference between human and chimpanzee trials can be explained by training effects on the tested chimpanzees.[7] They did reach Ayumu's performance level after thousands of trials, but only for 5 numbers whereas Ayumu effortlessly does it for 9.

In 2020, Kyoto University announced that Matsuzawa was involved in misappropriating the funding of Primate Research Institute.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile: Tetsuro Matsuzawa". Kyoto University. 2022. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  2. ^ a b Inoue, Sana; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro (2007). "Working memory of numerals in chimpanzees". Current Biology. 17 (23): R1004–R1005. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.027. PMID 18054758.
  3. ^ Briggs, Helen (2007-12-03). "Chimps beat humans in memory test". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2022-04-19. Chimpanzees have an extraordinary photographic memory that is far superior to ours, research suggests.
  4. ^ "Chimp vs Human! Memory Test". BBC Earth. 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  5. ^ Matsuzawa, Tetsuro (2009). "Symbolic representation of number in chimpanzees". Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 19 (1): 92–98. doi:10.1016/j.conb.2009.04.007. PMID 19447029.
  6. ^ Matsuzawa, Tetsuro (2021). "Primate Memory". Inference: International Review of Science. 6 (3): 1–9. doi:10.37282/991819.21.51.
  7. ^ Silberberg, Alan; Kearns, David (2009). "Memory for the order of briefly presented numerals in humans as a function of practice". Animal Cognition. 12 (2): 405–407. doi:10.1007/s10071-008-0206-8. PMID 19115068.
  8. ^ Kyoto Univ. Reveals Funds Scandal Involving Noted Primatologist
  9. ^ "CICASP Director Tetsuro Matsuzawa Recognized with Prestigious Award | CICASP | Center for International Collaboration and Advanced Studies in Primatology".