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Am J Primatol. 2009 Feb;71(2):175-81. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20639.

Are apes inequity averse? New data on the token-exchange paradigm.

Author information

  • 1Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, Germany. jbraeuer@eva.mpg.de

Abstract

Recent studies have produced mixed evidence about inequity aversion in nonhuman primates. Brosnan et al. [Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences 272:253-258, 2005] found inequity aversion in chimpanzees and argued that effort is crucial, if subjects are to evaluate how they are rewarded in comparison to a competitor for an identical performance. In this study we investigated inequity aversion with chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans, using the method of Brosnan et al. [Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences 272:253-258, 2005] after introducing some methodological improvements. Subjects always received a less-preferred food in exchange for a token, whereas the competitor received either the same type of food for their token (equity) or a more favored food for it (inequity). Apes did not refuse more of the less-preferred food when a competitor had received the more favored food. Thus, with an improved methodology we failed to reproduce the findings of Brosnan et al. [Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences 272:253-258, 2005] that apes show inequity aversion.

(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID:
19021260
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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