How scientists taught monkeys the concept of money. Not long after, the first prostitute monkey appeared

Source: ZME Science

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You may have thought things like currency or money are concepts known solely to man. Some might have a sense of ownership, besides of course territory, but trading and the likes haven’t been observed in any other species besides homo sapiens. An economist/psychologist duo from Yale back in 2005, however, managed to train seven capuchin monkeys how to use money, and I’m pretty sure from here on some of you might be able to guess what happened from there on.

‘The capuchin has a small brain, and it’s pretty much focused on food and sex,” said Keith Chen, a Yale economist who along with Laurie Santos, a psychologist, are the two researchers who have had made the study. ”You should really think of a capuchin as a bottomless stomach of want,” Chen says. ”You can feed them marshmallows all day, they’ll throw up and then come back for more.”

It’s exactly this selfish desires that they tried to exploit and experiment with great success after teaching capuchins to buy grapes, apples and Jell-O. The economist wanted to study the incentives that motivated specimens to behave in a way, while the psychologist analyzed the behavior itself.

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