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Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:12 AM

Researchers: Chimpanzees have a sense of fair play

Researchers from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University have successfully demonstrated that chimpanzees have a sense of fair play. Prior to this study, researchers believed that this was a uniquely human trait. Researchers from Emory University and their colleagues from Georgia State University played the Ultimatum Game with the chimpanzees to see how cognizant the animals are to the reward distribution between two individuals if both chimpanzees have to come to terms with the outcome.

“We used the Ultimatum Game because it is the gold standard to determine the human sense of fairness,” says first author Darby Proctor. ”In the game, one individual needs to propose a reward division to another individual and then have that individual accept the proposition before both can obtain the rewards. Humans typically offer generous portions, such as 50 percent of the reward, to their partners, and that’s exactly what we recorded in our study with chimpanzees.”

“Until our study, the behavioral economics community assumed the Ultimatum Game could not be played with animals or that animals would choose only the most selfish option while playing,” says co-author Frans de Waal. “We’ve concluded that chimpanzees not only get very close to the human sense of fairness, but the animals may actually have exactly the same preferences as our own species.” For purposes of direct comparison, the study was also conducted separately with human children.”

Researchers tested six adult chimpanzees and 20 human children on the Ultimatum Game. One individual picked between two differently colored tokens that, with his or her partner’s cooperation, could be exchanged for rewards, such as food for the chimpanzees or stickers for the children. Picking one token resulted in equal rewards to both players, whereas picking the other token resulted in an unequal reward. The decider then had to give the token to the partner, who had to exchange it with the researcher for food or stickers. This way, both individuals were in agreement with the outcome.

According to the researchers, both the chimpanzees and the children acted like adult humans usually do. If the partner’s cooperation was required, the chimpanzees and the children split the rewards equally. However, with a passive partner, chimpanzees and children picked the selfish option.


http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/researchers-chimpanzees-have-sense-of-fair-play/

7 replies, 776 views

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Reply Researchers: Chimpanzees have a sense of fair play (Original post)
Redfairen Jan 2013 OP
Bay Boy Jan 2013 #1
romana Jan 2013 #5
kooljerk666 Jan 2013 #2
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #3
corkhead Jan 2013 #4
Bay Boy Jan 2013 #6
Jim__ Jan 2013 #7

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:24 AM

1. Dogs have a sense of fairness too...

...tell two dogs to sit. Only give one a treat. Repeat and see how long before the dog not getting the treat refuses to sit.

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Response to Bay Boy (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 10:28 AM

5. Well

Perhaps the dog stops sitting because it isn't being rewarded for doing so. It has nothing to do with the other dog or a sense of fairness. Tell a single dog to sit and not reward it, and that dog, too, will likely stop sitting.

de Waal has a tendency to over-interpret his results.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:28 AM

2. Dogs also have a sense of "Fairness"

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/08/study-dogs-have-a-sense-o_n_149416.html


Not exactly sharing but if one dog gets a better deal than the other, the stiffed dog knows it & reacts.

Dogs, like people and monkeys, seem to have a sense of fairness.

"Animals react to inequity," said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, Austria, who led a team of researchers testing animals at the school's Clever Dog Lab. "To avoid stress, we should try to avoid treating them differently."

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:47 AM

3. Here's a video that presents some surprising examples of similar primate (and elephant) behavior...


This has been posted on DU before:

&feature=player_embedded

The experiment in the article seems a bit more complicated and has the interesting aspect of including human trials for comparison.

Thanks for the post.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:49 AM

4. But Republicons, not so much.

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Response to corkhead (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:25 PM

6. That's because

they are lower on the evolutionary scale than dogs.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:48 PM

7. And, of course, not everyone agrees.

From MSNBC:

...

Some questions surround the study: The second partner in the ultimatum game always accepted the offer of a split, whether it was equal or unequal. That applied to the kids as well as the chimps. Such behavior might suggest that the recipients would be happy with whatever they got, and didn't care about the fairness of the deal.

In Jensen's eyes, the fact that none of the chimps turned down an unequal split is a "fatal flaw."

"The ultimatum game hinges on the responder," Jensen said. "If the responder didn't understand the option of refusing, I would simply say the study did not work." Similarly, the children involved in the study may have been too young to understand that they could turn down an unfair deal — something that Proctor and her colleagues admit in their study.

They did report, however, that both the chimps and the children occasionally expressed displeasure about an unequal division. For the kids, it was voiced in complaints such as "You got more than me!" For the chimps, it took the form of spitting water at their selfish partner, or hitting a barrier between their cages.

...

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