Experiments suggest dogs and monkeys have a human-like sense of morality

phys.org | 2/15/2017 | Staff
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(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Kyoto University has found that dogs and capuchin monkeys watch how humans interact with one another and react less positively to those that are less willing to help or share. In their paper published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, the team describes a series of experiments they carried out with several dogs and capuchin monkeys and what they discovered about both species social preferences.

Common sense suggests that most people prefer to deal with other people who are fair and in some cases, helpful. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn if the same might be true of dogs and capuchin monkeys regarding human interactions. To that end, they set up three experiments designed to test how dogs and monkeys reacted to humans behaving rudely.

Experiment - Monkey - Scene - Person - Person

In the first experiment, a capuchin monkey was allowed to watch a scene in which a person was trying to open a can. After failing, the person asked another person for help—in some cases, the other person complied, and in some cases, they did not. Also in some cases, there was another person present who did nothing, serving as a passive actor in the scene.

In the second experiment, the researchers positioned a capuchin monkey to watch as two people arrived with three balls each. One of the people then asked the other person to give them all of their balls and the other person complied. Next, the person who had given up their balls asked the other to return them—in some cases the other person complied, and in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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