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Thursday, October 04, 20071191550399

Monkey Business

gnxp links to The Economist and Science, which both tell the story of how chimpanzees play the ultimatum game more rationally than humans. (The ultimatum game featured prominently in my last two experiments on the wary guerrilla and the wary student).

One explanation is that part of humanity's success is an innate ability to be irrational, to focus on cooperative-competition rather than one-against-all-ism. Another, not contradictory, theory would be that chimpanzees are easily disoriented (in the Boydian sense) and unable to keep ideas such as justice or fairness in mind.

21:13 Posted in Cognition | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: ooda


surely chimps have not concept of 'justice' or 'fairness', right?

Posted by: Sean Meade | Friday, October 05, 2007

Chimpanzees and bonobos (the hippies of the chimp world) both form complex coalitions. With respect to politics, lower-ranking chimpanzees will mislead disliked leaders as to the location of food, and then share the food with other (also oppressed) chimps. With respect to warfare, chimpanzees form light-infantry combat teams capable of stealth, infiltration, and terrorism (disabling and crippling enemies rather than killing them).

That said, the sort of "I'd rather go hungry than you see you eat" admiration of justice so common among humans appears to be lacking among chimps.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, October 05, 2007

A chimp was the first American in space.

Disoriented my butt!

Posted by: Ham lover | Friday, October 05, 2007