Research, Technology

Gorillas take risks just like humans

As a rule, people in their actions showrationality. That is, if a person needs to choose one of two options, he will always try to choose the one that is more profitable for him. For example, if a person wants to buy some product on the Internet, he will certainly order it where the price is lower (if other conditions are equal). But rationality does not always appear. Sometimes people take risks. For example, they gamble for money in the hope that they will be able to win a large amount. It turns out that this behavior is not unique to humans. Gorillas and orangutans are also capable of taking risks like humans. This was reported in a recent study by scientists from the University of Neuchâtel.

Gorillas and orangutans can take risks like gamblers

How scientists discovered risk behavior in monkeys

Employees of the University of Neuchâtelquite simple, but at the same time an interesting experiment. They let the gorillas choose one of the two bowls that contained the treat. In one of the bowls there was always a treat, moreover, in the same amount. That is, the monkeys knew that by choosing this bowl, they would definitely receive a treat, but not in large quantities.

Gorillas are more risky than orangutans

In the second bowl, there was no treat at all, or itthere were in large numbers. That is, choosing it, the monkeys understood what they were risking for. According to the authors of the work in the publication PLoS ONE, from time to time gorillas and orangutans chose an “unreliable” bowl. Moreover, the hungrier they were, the more often they took risks. Thus, hunger forced them to take risks in order to get more food, if, of course, they were lucky. Moreover, according to the authors, orangutans were generally more risky than gorillas. By the way, orangutans are considered the most intelligent monkeys, that is, they are smarter than gorillas.

Monkeys are like gamblers?

In the second experiment, the scientists decided to complicatetask. They still used the “reliable” bowl of treats, and they also provided an opportunity to take risks. If the monkeys chose the risk, then they were given several identical bowls to choose from, one of which contained a treat. That is, the winnings depended on the monkeys themselves, or rather, on which bowl they pointed to. The experiment was divided into two parts.

In the first part, the monkeys received at riskas much treat as was in the "reliable" bowl. So there was no point in risking it. In the second part of the experiment, the monkeys were given to understand that in the event of a risk, they have a chance to receive much more treats than are contained in the “safe bowl”.

Monkeys only took risks when they made sense.

As it is not difficult to guess, the monkeys took risks inif they had a chance to get more food. That is, they didn't take risks when it didn't make sense. But when there was an opportunity to get more food, they took risks, despite the fact that the chances of luck in the second experiment were much lower than in the first, and the monkeys were well aware of this.

Why do monkeys take risks?

Have you ever wondered why peoplerisk? The question concerns not only gambling, lotteries or sweepstakes. People often take similar risks in business and even just in everyday life. Scientists to this day cannot give an unambiguous answer to this question. However, we can now say with certainty that the propensity to take risks developed even before the appearance of man. As we see from the experiment, the behavior of gorillas and orangutans resembles the behavior of gamblers.

But why are monkeys risk-averse?Obviously, certain mechanisms that influence the psychology of choice play an important role in this. But how does this help primates in nature, because animals, at first glance, are much more correct to be guided by a rational approach when choosing. For example, go to that tree where there are always fruits, and not take risks.

Our ancestors developed risk-taking before humans even existed.

In fact, risk can also be a quality,which is necessary for survival, especially for animals with high intelligence. For example, going to a tree where there are always fruits is also a risk, because predators can be encountered along the way. To play it safe, our ancestors would have to sit in a tree and never climb down. The same applies to modern people.

Many of our actions, which we do not evenwe think are a risk. For example, traveling by car or flying in an airplane. Without the inclination to take risks, our actions would be paralyzed by fear. Therefore, some scientists believe that risk is not at all a mistake of individual psychology, that is, a “bug”, but simply a feature.

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Obviously, some people have a risk-takingfor some reason hypertrophied. But here it should be borne in mind that various factors influence the riskiness of a person. According to some reports, even Toxoplasma bacteria cause risk appetite. We recently reported that toxoplasmosis can affect the behavior of animals and humans.