Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Capuchin economics: Monkeys on unequal pay

Outrage in the face of inequity goes way back in our evolutionary history, suggests research by Emory primatologist Frans de Waal.

In a classic experiment, de Waal demonstrated that capuchin monkeys reject unequal rewards. In a video clip from a recent de Waal talk for TED (see above), you can see what happens when one monkey receives a cucumber for a task, while another monkey receives a grape for the same task.

“It’s basically the Wall Street protests,” de Waal says.

De Waal will be one of the featured speakers at a major Emory conference devoted to the topic of fairness, set for October 18-19. “What is Fair? An Interdisciplinary Relection on the Meanings of Fairness” will bring together psychologists, ethicists, lawyers, anthropologists, economists and former President Jimmy Carter to explore the many layers of a complex subject.

Monkeys, mankind and morality
The bi-polar ape, in love and war

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