Even monkeys protest against inequalities. What about humans?

Study says, ‘Humans and chimpanzees show similar preferences regarding reward division, suggesting a long evolutionary history to the human sense of fairness.’ Yes. true. But chimpanzees still continue protesting against unfairness, most humans stopped doing it. They have learned to accept the inequalities between poor and rich, women and men.


  1. Stacy says

    Just yesterday, Dr. de Waal posted an announcement to his public Facebook page. From the post:

    “We have reached quite a milestone today with the publication of our study on primate fairness….

    “Most of you know our monkey study showing the vigorous protest by the monkey who gets cucumber while another gets grapes. This study is 10 years old, however. Now we have done the impossible by having chimps play the Ultimatum Game. This game is the absolute gold standard for fairness in humans, and has been played all over the world with humans in different cultures. One individual needs to split a money amount with another and if the other accepts the proposed split both will get their share. Humans make fair offers, probably because they are afraid that the other may otherwise reject. In that case they will both end up empty-handed.

    “It is not easy to get chimps to make an offer to each other and the other to express acceptance. This is much easier done with linguistic creatures. Previous attempts used such complex apparatuses that the chimps were quite confused, even accepting zero offers, which no sane primate, human or nonhuman, should ever do.

    “Darby Proctor, a student of Sarah Brosnan and now a postdoc with us, worked for years diligently on getting chimps to understand a much simpler procedure. Once they did, she could play the Ultimatum game with them. The choices the chimps made were entirely their own, they were not trained or rewarded by us for what they chose. It was up to them. We tested young children in exactly the same way. The children and chimps reacted in the same way, making strikingly fair offers.”

    Here’s one write-up of the new study:


  2. StevoR, fallible human being says

    Not at all surprised by this although good to have it confirmed.

    Pretty sure I recall from somewhere a study showing that dogs have a sense of fairness too.

    I’d try to be fair and feed dogs equally anyway but do so even more with that in mind.

    I think there is a certain instinct for justice, fairness and equal compassionate treatment – among many animals and homo sapiens is no exception to this though some people still try to warp or wish away this basic part of our nature through various means and ideologies.

  3. pulin golder says

    That the study of 10 years and make out the equality in the monkey`s society. I d`nt know about the reality. But they are not ready to share equaly in thier sexual life.

  4. kevinalexander says

    A big difference with humans is, although we have the same sense of fairness, we are also much more socially advanced so it is possible to convince us that we can have a much bigger reward if we delay our gratification and get our share later.

    As in after we’re dead.

    Meanwhile, god tests this virtue in us by giving everything in this life to bankers and priests and imams and other utterly useless parasites.

  5. sumdum says

    One thing though, we humans are quite good at rationalizing away any inequality, talking straight what is crooked.

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