May 31 2012

Bananecdotes

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A guest at my sister’s wedding told me this, and I can’t remember if it happened to them, or someone they knew.

We had been talking about feeding the ducks, and the intelligence of animals. She was telling me about her/her friend and how they used to work in a zoo, studying chimpanzees. When the chimpanzee she was studying performed a task correctly, she would give it a banana. She noticed that eventually, the chimpanzee wouldn’t always eat the bananas, but would sometimes keep a small stockpile.

When she would open the cage to let the chimpanzee out, it would give her a banana.

She didn’t figure it out at first, but eventually it dawned on her.

Just as she was rewarding the chimpanzee for behaviour that pleased her, the chimpanzee began rewarding her for behaviour that pleased it.

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