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  • Zip, zilch, nil, nada, nothing.

  • We have a lot of words to describe zero.

  • A number without which we wouldn't have the likes of James Bond

  • or the code that makes this video play on YouTube...

  • It's a number that came into existence only 1,500 years ago,

  • a blip in the evolution of humans.

  • Yet, it's considered one of the most important discoveries in our history

  • But if you ask a kid under the age of 6 ...

  • Arthur, do you know what zero means?”

  • Uh…”

  • “A number?”

  • It's none.”

  • They might be able to tell you that zero is nothing,

  • but they don't understand that it is a quantity like other number, a concept that even a tiny

  • bumblebee can learn.

  • There's nothing there.”

  • Children understand the natural counting numbers long before they understand the number zero.

  • Mom: "Can you show me how to get to zero if you have one cookie?"

  • Now how many cookies do you have?”

  • Andreas Nieder believes that humans must comprehend four distinct stages of zero to fully understand

  • the number ...

  • The first stage is simple: the ability to notice a stimulus or the lack of one.

  • When you turn on a light bulb, for example, your eyes recognize the presence of that light

  • and send visual information to the brain.

  • Without light, the neurons don't do anything.

  • So in the second stage, our brain has to learn how to react to nothing.

  • The third stage is tougher: understanding that zero is less than one.

  • And it's this stage that kids struggle with.

  • Because even when a toddler can understand that zero represents something, like the absence

  • of a cookie, they still don't understand that it represents an actual quantity.

  • In an experiment with four year olds ... researchers asked the toddlers to pick cards with the

  • fewest dots, and when they compared a blank card and a card with one dot, less than half

  • of the kids got the answer right.

  • Without understanding this concept, Nieder says humans can't use zero as a number,

  • the fourth and final stage.

  • Mom: If you had one cookie and you took it away how many do you have?

  • Miriam: Two!

  • Mom: Two?!

  • But how the brain gets to that point is still unknown.

  • So while our own brains may still be a mystery, researchers are finding answers in some seriously

  • less complex ones.

  • The brain of a bee has 100,000 times fewer neurons than the brain of a human, yet scientists

  • in Australia were able to teach them that zero is a quantity less than one.

  • Scarlett Howard: “One of the things we wanted to test for was this concept of zero that

  • we see in these seemingly more advanced animals like primates and parrots.

  • And so we did and we got a really interesting answer.”

  • In a study similar to the one done with the young kids, researchers presented bees with

  • cards showing different numbers of dots.

  • And the bees were rewarded with sugar water when they selected the card with the smallest

  • amount.

  • After the bee correctly chose the smaller number 80 percent of the time, the researchers

  • upped the challenge.

  • They added blank cards to the test.

  • Howard: “So the important thing from this first experiment show us that bees that were

  • trained to always choose the lower number in training, regardless of not having seen

  • an empty set before and never having been rewarded for it, chose the empty set.”

  • Bees also showed that they understood zero

  • as a quantity on the number line, because they more accurately

  • chose the empty set when comparing it to a larger number like five or six than when they

  • compared it to just one.

  • Howard: “They're more accurate with numbers that are further apart, which is callednumerical

  • distance effects.”

  • And it's something that's defined as being very important to show that an animal or even

  • a human has an understanding of number quantity.

  • The findings of this study suggest the ability to understand zero may be more widespread

  • in the animal kingdom than previously thought.

  • And, it's possible that in deconstructing how the bees compute numbers, we could make

  • better, more efficient computers one day.

  • Plus, studying the brains of bees and other animals can help scientists better learn how

  • humans understand zero, enough to do our algebra homeworkor just look for more cookies.

  • Mom: “What is nothing?”

  • Who knew that nothing could this complicated?

  • Hi, if you want to learn more about how bees are impacting the food that you eat, make

  • sure to check out this video from our sister channel Verge Science.

  • And thanks for watching.

Zip, zilch, nil, nada, nothing.

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B1 中級

蜂はゼロを理解できるあなたは? (Bees can understand zero. Can you?)

  • 54 2
    robert に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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