Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Chimps have 'sense of fair play'

A sense of fairness may have deep evolutionary roots in feces flinging matches

Chimpanzees display a similar sense of fairness to humans, one which is shaped by social relationships, experts claim.
They found that, like humans, chimps react to unfairness in various ways depending on their social situation.

Details of the study appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

A similar finding has been reported in capuchin monkeys, suggesting that a sense of fairness may have a long evolutionary history in primates.

In the study by researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, US, chimps were paired to see how they would respond if one received a better reward than the other for doing the same amount of work.

When the pair came from a group that had known each other only a short time, the unfairly treated chimp responded negatively.

An animal rewarded with cucumbers - instead of highly prized grapes - "downed tools" and refused to do any more work.

But when the pair were from a close-knit social group that had bonded over a long period of time, unfairness was more likely to be tolerated.

Story here.

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