A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University showed that humans and other animals use real and hypothetical memory to help make basic decisions. When applied to zombie research, this fact suggests that the undead must have some developmental ability in order to effectively hunt their human prey. In layman’s terms: zombies can learn.
The study found that rats navigating a maze not only used replays of recent or frequent paths through the maze, but also paths that they’d rarely taken or even never taken at all. The rats were trying to build maps to help them make navigation decisions, proving that memory is an integral part of the decision-making process. And this is true even if the goal is something as simple as sniffing out a piece of cheese.
Study participant, Anoopum Gupta, had this to add:
“Our work provides clues into how animals must construct a complete, fully navigable representation of their environment in order to move around, even if they’ve only partially explored that environment.”
Memory and learning are so tied to our ability to make simple choices, without them a zombie wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a door and a wall, let alone find its way out of a dead end alley.
Even if zombies retain memory from the human they once were (a highly unlikely, yet popular theory), a zombie unable to learn and remember would fail to overcome any obsticle it hadn’t specifically seen before in life. A front door covered in paper or tape would be enough to confuse this type of zombie, rendering the door virtually invisible.