Fair Chimps, Since when?!

There have been recent studies on the theory that chimpanzees have a sense of fairness. These studies have lead scientists to believe that there is indeed, a sense of fairness in chimps. This was before said to be a trait unique to humans. One way scientists test someone for their sense of fairness in the Ultimatum Game (UG), in this game the proposer chooses one of two tokens that can be exchanged for food one token represents a ratio of 1:1 while the other represents a ratio of 5:1. There is also a game called The Dictator game (DG) that shows results when the respondent (person accepting the offer) has no choice in the proposer’s decision.

The results in studies done by Darby Proctor and her associates include experiments of both the UG and the DG done on children and on chimps. The results of the children and chimps are very similar and show that in the UG about 70% of the proposers in chimps, and humans chose equal offers which shows a link in the minds of Chimps and humans that could help explain how we act and respond to various events.

While the results showed “fair” offers in the UG, the DG showed very different results. I found that in the DG there were also many similarities in the choices of the chimps and humans, but they showed that around 85% of proposers chose the more selfish offer when the respondent didn’t have a say in the offer. This also shows a direct link between the minds of chimps and humans. I find this quite interesting that a trait thought to be specific to humans for so many years could be so wrong. This is an article confirming the findings of Proctor and her associates: 

In conclusion, I find that a chimps mind and that of a human are not wildly different, but actually very alike in many ways. These ways include reasoning and their sense of fairness. I find these results by Proctor are astounding. There are some scientists who believe that her work is biased or untrue, here is a link to an article that discusses these scientists and their thoughts.

What are some other similarities found in the minds of chimps and humans?

Can you find more studies on this subject?

What are your reactions to this information?

3 thoughts on “Fair Chimps, Since when?!

  1. The sense of fairness, to me, has many more variables that couldn’t be measured in a laboratory, one of which ties the chimp to its animal roots. The Chimpanzee like many other species of animals reside in numbers, and in their packs there’s always an alpha male that will have first pick in most of the packs activities. This would be a major variable in the wild that, I believe, would change the outcome of this expirement entirely. As a singular chimp this is most likely accurate and I would agree with the results, but an animals sense of fairness vanishes when presented with the task of providing sustenance for survival. http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/chimpanzee/behav This website explains chimpanzee’s social behavior

  2. I think that this is a good subject, about the chimps and the human’s. I found out that between human and chimp DNA is that some of the critical DNA sequenced is omitted from the scope of the analysis. Inflation level of DNA of chimps and humans is reported to the general public. Large DNA sequence blocks are present in humans and gorillas, but not in chimps. Chimps are supposedly more distant to humans. DNA from an evolutionary perspective appear first in gorillas, disappear in chimps, and then reappear in humans.

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