Monday, January 14, 2013

Fairness and Apes

There is a new paper on Chimpanzees and the ultimatum game by Darby Proctor, Rebecca A. Williamson, Frans B. M. de Waal, and Sarah F. Brosnan, "Chimpanzees play the ultimatum game." PNAS, January 14, 2013 DOI: 10.1073

the abstract reads:
"Is the sense of fairness uniquely human? Human reactions to reward division are often studied by means of the ultimatum game, in which both partners need to agree on a distribution for both to receive rewards. Humans typically offer generous portions of the reward to their partner, a tendency our close primate
relatives have thus far failed to show in experiments. Here we tested chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and human children on a modified ultimatum game. One individual chose between two tokens that, with their partner’s cooperation, could be exchanged for rewards. One token offered equal rewards to both players,
whereas the other token favored the chooser. Both apes and children responded like humans typically do. If their partner’s cooperation was required, they split the rewards equally. However, with passive partners—a situation akin to the so-called dictator game—they preferred the selfish option. Thus, humans and chimpanzees show similar preferences regarding reward division, suggesting a long evolutionary history to the human sense of fairness."

A summary can be found at Science news: "Chimpanzees Successfully Play the Ultimatum Game: Apes' Sense of Fairness Confirmed"

1 comment:

  1. Apparently there's some question as to what these results mean: