Adaptive valuation of social images by Rhesus Macaques
In a finding that deepens our understanding of animal social cognition, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have demonstrated for the first time that monkeys, like humans, value information according to its social content. People readily pay to see powerful or sexually attractive individuals, and, according to this new study, monkeys will also "pay" to view these kinds of images.
Both economics and evolutionary theory predict that animals should selectively acquire information about others that is most useful for guiding behavior. In most monkey social groups, behavior is structured by kinship, dominance, and reproductive status, suggesting that social information should be valued according to these attributes. While previous studies had shown that monkeys would work to see other monkeys, no one knew whether the value they placed on seeing other individuals was related to the social relevance of those individuals.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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