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

Journal of Primatology

Author(s): Bruer J, Call J, Tomasello M

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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. This article was published in Am J Primatol and referenced in Journal of Primatology

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