Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bank Monkeys

Monkeys don't care about money, per se, but they do care about marshmallows." [Psychology Today, July 2008] No, there is no typo in this post's title. And I didn't lift this story from Weekly World News or some such tabloid. Yale professors are training monkeys to take over banking jobs. Er, not really, but these professors have devised experiments in which they teach the monkeys about resources and exchanges. "Why are they doing this?" you might ask. ("Why would anyone pay for this?" would be the foremost question on my mind, but whatever.) Apparantly, the professors are looking for clues as to how evolution paved the way for money in human society, and to gain a certain perspective on human decision making (a little WWMD -- What Would Monkeys Do?). Read the whole thing over at Psychology Today (The Evolution of Economic Rationality: Do Monkeys Understand Money?). And, if you dare, read this response and the punny comments from Gawker (Monkey Menace Reaches Terrifying New Level).
The Evolution of Economic Rationality: Do Monkeys Understand Money?
(This post was coauthored with Kathleen D. Vohs.)

monkeyMoney is a powerful force in human life and affairs. Its very power gives pause to those who look to evolution for full explanations of human behavior, because money has not existed long enough to have influenced evolution. By some estimates, money only goes back a couple thousand years, which is too short even to have influenced human evolution... [read more]

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