Monday, July 21, 2008

Money for Monkeys?



Can our primate relatives be taught to understand currency? Some Yale researchers presented monkeys with economic choices and then compared their behavior with that of humans in similar situations. The take-away: humans' economic logic is informed by a sense of fairness and equity that other primates haven't developed quite as robustly.

From a Psychology Today article on the study:
"Thus, when monkeys play, they behave as economists would have humans do - they accept any offer above zero. This means that, although rational (they have more when they leave the game than when they entered), monkeys are not sensitive to issues of fairness. Humans most certainly are. Humans feel all kinds of self-conscious emotions when they receive more than they think they ought to receive. Not always, of course, but it happens."
Take a closer look at the study here.

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