Sunday, February 15, 2009

Even Monkeys have a Sense of Fairness


"Personal integrity is important, not because it gets us what we want, but because it helps us be what we want." - Michael Josephson

Monkeys have a Sense of Morality - London, Press Trust of India

I was in a store today that I frequently visit. Two of the employees were talking, one of them very angry, and I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the word "fair." The one young man said he was giving his notice that day, that their manager had been "unfair" - giving others less hours, more time off, arranging things to suit others and making him take up the slack, and not appreciating his hard work. The other agreed and said she would quit when she could. Every one of us who frequents the store knows what good workers these two are; far better than the others who work there, and this certainly indicates low emotional intelligence on the part of the manager.

Perhaps you're a boss or owner who can't keep good workers ... Perhaps you're an employee who can't believe how unfair your manager is ... or why it matters to you so much (or if it should) ... How important is FAIRNESS?

From the article "Monkeys have a Sense of Morality" reporting on the research of Prof Frans de Waal of Emory University in Georgia:

**Both monkeys and apes can make judgments about fairness
**Both monkeys and apes offer altruistic help and empathize when a fellow animal is ill or in difficulties
**Both monkeys and apes have consciences as well as the rudimentary ability to remember obligations
The animals were asked to perform a set of simple tasks and then rewarded with food or affection...The study found that the animals had an acute sense of fairness and objected strongly when others were rewarded more than themselves for the same task, often sulking and refusing to take part any further....

Another experiment looked at altruism in chimps -- it found they were often willing to help others even when there was no obvious reward. "Chimpanzees spontaneously help both humans and each other in carefully controlled tests," he said.
Perhaps most heartening of all:

"Everything else being equal, they prefer to reward a companion together with themselves rather than just themselves ... [T]he research suggests that giving is self-rewarding for monkeys," De Waal said.

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1 comment:

Queen of Wands said...

We should all be better monkeys.