Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Like humans, monkeys can make irrational decisions when making choices

Date:
October 3, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
When making decisions about the value of an assortment of different objects, people approximate an average overall value, which though frequently useful can lead to apparently irrational decision-making. A new study shows for the first time that non-human primates also make similar "irrational" choices based on approximation.

A monkey chooses between groups of objects.
Credit: Citation: Kralik JD, Xu ER, Knight EJ, Khan SA, Levine WJ (2012) When Less Is More: Evolutionary Origins of the Affect Heuristic. PLoS ONE 7(10): e46240.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046240

When making decisions about the value of an assortment of different objects, people approximate an average overall value, which though frequently useful can lead to apparently irrational decision-making. A new study published Oct 3 in PLOS ONE by Jerald Kralik and colleagues at Dartmouth College shows for the first time that non-human primates also make similar 'irrational' choices based on approximation.

In the study, researchers found that rhesus monkeys preferred a highly-valued food item (a fruit) alone to the identical item paired with a food of positive but lower value (fruit and a vegetable).

The researchers suggest that this behavior is similar to what has been seen in previous studies with humans, where participants rated a 24-piece dinnerware set more highly than one with the same 24 pieces, plus 16 more pieces of which nine were broken.

According to the authors, decision-making processes in humans and other primates have evolved towards reducing the complexity in choices between large groups of assorted items, which may result in such irrational choices.

"People often judge a group -- of valuables, of foods, of other people -- by its average rather than by the sum of its parts. Our study shows that monkeys appear to do the same thing, which suggests that both monkeys and people inherited a particular way of simplifying the world around us, making choices easier, sometimes at the expense of 'rationality'" says Kralik.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jerald D. Kralik, Eric R. Xu, Emily J. Knight, Sara A. Khan, William J. Levine. When Less Is More: Evolutionary Origins of the Affect Heuristic. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e46240 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046240

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Like humans, monkeys can make irrational decisions when making choices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003195129.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, October 3). Like humans, monkeys can make irrational decisions when making choices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003195129.htm
Public Library of Science. "Like humans, monkeys can make irrational decisions when making choices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121003195129.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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