Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chimpanzees Show Quality Of Relationship Drives Sense Of Fairness

Date:
February 15, 2005
Source:
Emory University Health Sciences Center
Summary:
The evolution of the sense of fairness may have involved the quality of relationships, according to behavioral researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta.

The evolution of the sense of fairness may have involved the quality of relationships, according to behavioral researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta.

By observing variability in chimpanzees' responses to inequity, Sarah Brosnan, PhD, and Frans de Waal, PhD, both researchers in Yerkes' Division of Psychobiology and the Yerkes-based Living Links Center, determined the chimpanzees' responses depended upon the strength of their social connections. This is the first demonstration that nonhuman primates' reactions to inequity parallel the variation in human responses to unfair situations based on the quality of the relationship. This novel finding appears January 26 on the Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Series B web site, www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk . The finding also will appear in the journal's February 7 print edition.

Coupled with data from the authors' previous fairness-related research in capuchin monkeys, released in fall 2003, Brosnan and de Waal's current research provides new insight into the role social environment and relationships play in human decision-making. In their previous study, the researchers identified for the first time a sense of fairness in nonhuman primates and correlated that finding to human economic decision-making.

"Human decisions tend to be emotional and vary depending on the other people involved," said Brosnan. "Our finding in chimpanzees implies this variability in response is adaptive and emphasizes there is not one best response for any given situation but rather it depends on the social environment at the time."

In the current study, Drs. Brosnan and de Waal made food-related exchanges with chimpanzees from groups that had lived together either their entire lives or a relatively short time (less than eight years). Animals were paired to determine how they would react when their partners received a superior reward (grapes) instead of a less-valued reward (cucumbers) for the same amount of work, considered an unfair situation. The researchers observed the chimpanzees in the close, long-term social groups were less likely to react negatively to the unfair situation than were the chimpanzees in the short-term social groups, who refused to work when their partners received a superior reward. Such a reaction is seen in humans who might react negatively to unfair situations with a stranger or enemy but not with a family member or friend.

"Identifying a sense of fairness in two, closely-related nonhuman primate species implies it could have a long evolutionary history. The capuchin responses as well as those of the chimpanzees, the most closely related species to humans, could represent stages in the evolution of the complex responses to inequity exhibited by humans and may help explain why we make certain decisions," said Brosnan.

Brosnan and de Waal currently are investigating reactions to unfairness in more detail. They hope to uncover the specific situations that lead to such reactions.

The goal of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center is to view great apes as a window to the human past by studying their behavior, cognition, neuroanatomy, genes and reproduction in a noninvasive manner. Another goal is to educate the public about apes and to help guarantee their continued existence in the wild.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Emory University Health Sciences Center. "Chimpanzees Show Quality Of Relationship Drives Sense Of Fairness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050212191635.htm>.
Emory University Health Sciences Center. (2005, February 15). Chimpanzees Show Quality Of Relationship Drives Sense Of Fairness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050212191635.htm
Emory University Health Sciences Center. "Chimpanzees Show Quality Of Relationship Drives Sense Of Fairness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050212191635.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins