The study of money and people's reactions to economic situations has been studied for ages, be it analyzing market statistics, trying out deals and incentives in stores, or closed lab environments, but who would have thought to see if other animals have the same reactions to money as humans? It turns out that researchers at the Yale-New Haven Hospital have trained a set of Capuchin monkeys to use money to buy things for themselves from the researchers in the lab.
The monkeys reacted similarly to humans in many situations, such as taking a gamble that seemed like a potential gain over a gamble that seemed like a potential loss even though both had the same probability to them. This shows that psychology does play a large role in bargaining, whether the terms are favorable or not. The monkeys also understood give and take in some situations, trading one food for another, and that if the price of one food dropped that they should buy more of it rather than waste money on more expensive options.
One of the main differences was that the monkeys seemed incapable of saving money, focusing more on instant gratification rather than long-term potential profits. They also stole fairly often from the researchers and from one another. This could give some insight into monkey behavior as well as how humans may react on a base level to situations. Maybe the urges that the monkeys act on are the urges that we all have to suppress because society doesn't allow us to act on them. There is definitely more research to be done in this area and this is a unique and interesting way of pushing it forward.
Posted by Mike Selden (C)