back to article Hey, monkey: Just 'cos your mates eat FOUL corn, YOU have to eat it too?

Monkeys are just as prone to peer group pressure as humans, according to new research. Boffins at the University of St Andrews found that primates are heavily influenced by the behaviour of their peers, just as humans are. The discovery has been hailed as a rare example of "cultural transmission" in non-human animals. …

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What colour was tasty again?

was it green?

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Thumb Up

Re: What colour was tasty again?

Soylent Green

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Holmes

"willingness of the immigrant males to adopt the local preference of their new groups"

So nothing like humans then

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So nothing like humans then

Well, the study was limited to juveniles and males on the pull, rather than overweight middle-aged monkeys in a Spanish villa complex.

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And henceforth this peer-pressure will be known as a van de Waal's force ...

Sometimes I think I'm too geeky ...

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Conformity in other things, too

There was a study a year or two ago (can't find a link, sorry, but was in Scientific American) that showed that chimps could and did devise tools, but if a chimp devised a very good tool, solo, and then joined a group who were all using a less good tool (in the case of the study, a reaching stick), Mr Clever abandoned his better tool to use the group one.

I found this very depressing. Although chimps are, of course, not humans.

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Re: Conformity in other things, too

Maybe the Monkey had applied for a patent on his new tool and didn't want other monkeys stealing the idea then claiming prior art when his patent was accepted

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Meh

Re: Conformity in other things, too

Although chimps are, of course, not humans.

Oh, I dunno. Sounds like a primate version of "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM"[1] to me.

[1] Note for junior commentards: This was a common saying back in the days when Systems Programmers strode the Earth like gods, code generation involved chain-smoking and coffee and computers were large, beige things with blue panels on them.

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Unhappy

Re: Conformity in other things, too

Depressing but not that surprising really.

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Boffin

"If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?" "Oh Jeez. Probably."

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What's more likely, that _all_ my friends (including the ones scared of heights) are idiots, or maybe they noticed something that I missed?

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If only Elop had seen this cartoon in time.

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Finally

Proof for monkey see monkey do!

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Trollface

Missing from this report

They also started to believe that products with a silver fruit on the back were inherently superior.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Missing from this report

"They also started to believe that products with a silver fruit on the back were inherently superior."

Everyone knows that apes respect the Silverbacks.

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Anonymous Coward

Humans are too intelligent for inferior local norms

Columbus and early settlers came to America with guns and started new colonies. We did not gave up guns for bows and arrows (tools were used by local species). We are now invading Mars with Curiosity equipped with laser gun. We gave up guns in protest only if we are confined and restricted by the local environment. The immigrants coming to America and melted in our melting pot because we have better tools than where they came from. When we all have better tools, humans continue to fight for their own beliefs in the global battle field of World War 3. I believe the monkey and chimp animals conform to local norm just for immediate survival and basic needs of food and sex. What happens if we have a controlled science experiment where animals are taught how to use guns to hunt for food and sex? They would need to blast their way through obstacles like doors and enemies to get to food and sex. Once we have gold....

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Mushroom

Re: Humans are too intelligent for inferior local norms

Stop blowing up Mars, the Mysterons get very cranky especially when non mysterons are in a mysteron group on heat!

/me throws a can of Fosters to try and get them away

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What I would expect

This result is exactly what I would expect. Why it surprised the researchers is a mystery. The most likely explanation is that making their result look some how 'remarkable' gives them a better chance of publishing the paper.

Whatever a living thing is doing, its behavior is informed by evolution. In an evolutionary context, it is not likely that a group would be passing up perfectly good food. In nature, If you join a group that is avoiding a certain foodstuff, you would be well advised to follow suit. That behavior would have resulted from some indication in the environment that the food is not safe. In the real environment from which behavior evolved, the problem with the food they are avoiding would likely exist for a functional reason, not an experimental manipulation. In an evolutionary sense, what they are doing is by far the wisest course.

This is a poor experiment. Good scientific experiments either provide confirmation for something that is still unconfirmed or are designed to falsify portions of prevailing theory. This does neither. It provides redundant proof of something entirely unremarkable.

The magazine 'Science', like 'Nature' and 'Scientific American' is not what it used to be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I would expect

Thank you for this comment. I'm glad I'm not the only person thinking along these lines. I assume animals that eat anything and everything they can fit in their mouths indiscriminately probably don't live very long.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I would expect

Prolly explains why fat septics die young...

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Coat

Uh huh, sure, and that's why I make sarcastic comment like all the rest of the commentards, right?

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Joke

So monkeys learn by imitation and observation? Colour me blue... I mean shocked.

/sarcasm

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Holmes

*facepalm* / *Sherlock*

"researchers were astonished to see that they wolfed down the same corn as the grown-ups."

Astonished? When I heard those results, I was thinking "No shit, Sherlock"

There is a large area of human society that thinks that animals are simply dumb. I've heard so many smug comments from some people who seem to think that animals are mindless zombies, and are then surprised or not convinced when they hear about what some animals have been seen doing...

You only have to see those experiments with squirrels and birds etc. to have a clue, but for some people, some people stick their head in the sand.

I'll tell you what, there are many MANY humans who wouldn't have the 'survival intelligence' that most animals have, and wouldn't last 2 days if thrown into their environment.

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Bananas and Monkeys

Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done round here.

And that, my friends, is how company policies are made.

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Joke

Re: Bananas and Monkeys

This is also why I am banned from Edinburgh Zoo.

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Anonymous Coward

Waiting

... for someone to come along and say "Ah! So *this* is why nobody's buying Lumia."

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Anonymous Coward

"The only monkey who didn't do so was the top ranking in his group, who presumably was so attractive to female monkeys that he didn't need to bother fitting in with the locals' behaviour."

The outlaw biker of Ladder Theory.

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