Study Finds Monkeys Prefer Riskier Bets

Tisha Walden | 25 Sep 2018

Monkeys Prefer Riskier BetsOver the past couple of decades, much has been revealed about the inner workings of the human brain, thanks to scientific and behavioural studies that have been conducted on monkeys. Advancements in science and technology have enabled us to make accurate deductions regarding everything from the development of language to the evolution of behaviour.

Most recently, scientists have been able to pinpoint a specific area of the human brain responsible for high-risk behaviour, thanks to an extensive study performed on the physiology and behaviour of monkeys. Quite notable was the fact that monkeys preferred riskier bets carrying higher rewards, as opposed to smaller bets and regular, smaller, wins.

Better Treatments For Bad Habits

The outcome of the studies relating to high-risk behaviour, isn’t only valuable to our understanding of risky behaviour, but also proves very valuable in future treatments developed for problem gambling.

What stood out quite prominently is the fact that individuals may react differently to risky decisions in different situations. Previously, bioscience had held firm to the belief that high-risk behaviour was in fact, a character-trait. This now no longer seems to be regarded as something that is set in stone, as the findings of the study prove otherwise.

What this inevitably means, is that there isn’t any one personality more prominently pre-disposed towards developing problem gambling, but that any person could actually grow into the habit, depending on a specific set of circumstances.

A Love For Gambling Is Natural

Interestingly enough, teaching the monkeys the basic principles of gambling, was the easy bit. This was achieved by means of a reward-system. The monkeys were given a computerised game to play, and each time that they won, the reward was a portion of delicious fruit juice.

Even more interesting was the fact that when given the option of either winning a whole lot of fruit juice, or none at all, the monkeys opted for the second option, with no exceptions. From this type of behaviour, it was quite obvious that the monkeys did in fact, love to gamble. They were not interested in the security of just a few drops of fruit juice. Instead, they were willing to put all of the fruit juice on the line for the off chance of winning big.