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Fairness May Be Genetic—Fill In The Blanks

25 Aug 09
Michelle Cubas
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Recent research shows that social primates have us beat on fairness to each other—Witness today’s horrendous healthcare chaos.

Reported in the journal, Nature, led by Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal from Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, “The study was built around tokens that the moneys could exchange for so-so cucumbers or highly preferred grapes. As long as two capuchins both got cucumbers for the token, fine. But when one got a grape and other a cucumber, unrest began.” “Refusing a food item of any type is very rare behavior in acapuchin,” Brosnan says.

This finding is reminiscent of what I observed, raising my children 22 months apart, of toddler’s at play. Consider goodie bags at kids’ birthday parties; they check each other’s bags to be sure everyone got the same things!

Considering our proud stance on independent human behavior, the researchers note this simian behavior may be linked to survival and safety.

We, humans, may need to take another look at our behavior, to remember we’re all in this together.

Your coach,

Michelle Cubas

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