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Monkeys prefer porn and pictures of celebrities to their favourite drink

Certainly, something to ponder about. 
Though, not too much pontification, I hope. 

monkey porn.png

Professors Deaner, Platt, and Khera from Duke University conducted a "Monkey Pay Per View" experiment in 2005.
 

  • A group of rhesus monkeys were denied access to water for several hours, and hence were thirsty. 

  • The monkeys were then given a choice between some photos and their favourite drink, cherry juice. 

  • There were several sets of photos:

    • the first was of female monkey's hindquarters and genitalia​, or more crudely, monkey porn

    • the second was a set of photos of high-status monkeys, the equivalent of "celebrities" in the monkeyverse.

    • the third was a set of photos of low-status monkeys, those lower in the hierarchy

    • the fourth was a simple control, a set of grey squares.
       

And the results*?​​

 

The monkeys were willing to give up their favourite drink, even when they were very thirsty, to look at pictures of female behinds.

 

They were also willing to give up their favourite drink while thirsty, to look at pictures of high-status "celebrity" monkeys.

But they had to be bribed with extra juice to want to take a look at low-status monkeys.

Ok, so I presume a lot of males reading this might be quoting this study. 

But there are 2 broader implications:

 

  1. is the workings of dopamine, and how it relates to pleasure. Dopamine is often wrongly simplified, as directly related and proportional to pleasure. However, is looking at pictures by themselves pleasurable, or is there also pleasure from the anticipation or hypothesizing of what could happen next?

    Dopamine plays an incredibly important function in our lives, over a wide range of actions and behaviour. Find out more about how it works here.

     

  2. is the comparisons between us our animal cousins. In recent times we have found ways in which we are incredibly similar - the neuron in our brains are not much different from the neurons in the brain of a fly; like us, chimpanzees engage in genocide and cuckoldry; and bonobos exhibit the preference for the same morality we pride ourselves on - fairness and intent (rather than consequence) of action. 

    These examples provide hints of what we are biologically inclined towards - behaviours we are likely to adopt unless we actively intervene. But it also shows us in which areas humans and animals bifurcate, why we can develop technology to get us to Mars, and why a rising number of us choose to kill ourselves because of stress. read more about humans vs animals here

       

*It should be noted that monkeys are very social animals In fact, a very common theme which we observe is that mammals in complex social structures tend to have greater brain development. In these complex social webs, social information is very important. And at least to some extent, the monkeys could be looking at these pictures to help them gain information, especially the ones of the celebrity females.

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