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Monkeys reject equal pay critique

Monkeys reject equal pay critique - Ricardo Rodriguez...

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Ricardo Rodriguez Laboratory in Animal Cognition Paper Critique – Brosnan et. al. Monkeys Reject Equal Pay – Or Do They? The concept of “fairness,” in the sense that some thing or situation is “ free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice,” is one that manifests itself at a relatively early developmental stage in humans. It is evident that fairness (e.g. equal distribution) within a community is a fundamental pillar of beneficial social exchange. Brosnan et. al. look at the social function of fairness from an evolutionary perspective in their experimental analysis entitled, “Monkeys Reject Equal Pay,” specifically questioning the presence of inequity aversion in tufted capuchin monkeys ( Cebus apella ). Although the study itself produces interesting data, the paper does not provide a scientifically sound platform to support its strong claims. The credibility of the study and its findings are primarily damaged by an incomplete introduction and an insufficiently designed/implemented experimental design. From the start, the paper seems to be missing the fundamental elements of a cohesively structured argument. Rather than proposing a hypothesis following the question: “Do monkeys exhibit behavior indicative of inequity aversion?” the authors immediately claim, “Here we demonstrate that a nonhuman primate… responds negatively to unequal reward distribution with a human experimenter.” This distinct lack of a clear hypothesis allows little room for consideration of alternatives, and provides virtually no framework for logic. Instead, the reader must derive the experimental logic from summarized results inserted at the end of the paragraph: “Monkeys refused to participate if they witnessed a conspecific obtain a more attractive reward for equal
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effort, an effect amplified if the partner received such a reward without any effort at all.” The introduction ends with further assurance of the data’s validity, conspicuously lacking any consideration of alternative explanations. The methods are described more clearly and completely. Ten monkeys were
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