Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monkeys, Apes and Human Nature

According to new research, when you share your food with others, you may be subconsciously using a strategy to insure that others will share their food with you one day if you find yourself down on your luck.

In order to take a closer look at food sharing, researchers at the University of California in Santa Barbara examined food sharing activity in monkeys, apes, and humans. Adrian Jaeggi, one of the lead researchers, said that humans and other primates form long-term relationships for mutual gains, and that benefit given to others are more likely to be returned when these long-term relationships are formed and maintained. This study demonstrates, for example, the value of the food stamps program. By using our taxpayer dollars to help struggling Americans get the food they need to survive, we could be trying to ensure that if or when we are also in need of assistance, that assistance will be there to help us get back on our feet. So, as Conservatives continue to wage war against food stamps, maybe they should think a little more about what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot.

Whilst this comes across as a bit of a partisan dig or parry, and it's certainly detail-lite, how heartening it is to recognise once again that cooperation can win out over competition! JS

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