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Monkey see, Monkey go all-in

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 22nd August 2005 11:02pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 0


When given a choice between steady rewards and the chance for more, monkeys will gamble, a new study found.

And they'll keep taking risks as the stakes rise and dry spells get longer.

The research, in which scientists also pinpointed brain activity during the gambling, could provide insight into the human penchant for risk.

The male rhesus macaque monkeys were shown either of two lights on a screen. Looking at a "safe" light yielded the same fruit juice reward each time. Looking at the "risky" light meant a larger or smaller juice reward. In the first test, the average reward was the same over time regardless of which light they chose.

The monkeys overwhelmingly preferred to gamble, even when the game was changed so that gambling yielded less juice over time.

"There was no rational reason why monkeys might prefer one of these options over the other because, according to the theory of expected value, they're identical," said Duke University Medical Center neurobiologist Michael Platt.

[ Miss Monkay See, Miss Monkay Go All In? - Ed ]



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