Pigs Learn to Operate Game Controllers

The next time you’re looking for someone to fight in “Mortal Kombat,” you might want to try taking on a pig.

Researchers at Purdue University say they’ve been able to teach four pigs how to operate controllers for video games. And they did it the old-fashioned way: by rewarding the pigs with treats whenever they accomplished an onscreen goal, they say.

Lead researcher Candace C. Croney says she hopes the findings will help people understand how to better “enrich” animals’ lives. “It would be nice for people to realize how
unique pigs are, and how much more mentally sophisticated they may be than we previously recognized,” she says.

Why do universities spend money on studies like this? How does it help people?

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