Following the Crowd
I thought this was an interesting article worth sharing with you all. According to a study conducted by Daniel Haunn, a psychologist at the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology and Psycholinguistics, chimps and toddlers are more susceptible to follow the crowd, while orangutans are not. In Haun’s study, he created a box with three colored holes and displayed a treat to the animals and toddlers when a ball was dropped in a certain hole. The toddlers and animals watched four other members of their species accurately interact with the box and were then given the opportunity to explore the box for themselves. Unlike the toddlers and chimpanzees, the orangutans generally acted individually and chose random holes instead of following the trend of their species, as well as the chimpanzees and toddlers. Dr. Haun states that this reason might be due to the high amount social interaction toddlers and chimpanzees experience compared to orangutans that grow up in more isolated environments with a smaller amount of their species members present.
I found this article interesting because it prompted me to think about what other species follow the crowd, and why humans at such a young age are prone to follow the actions of other members of their species. Although they received a treat if they put their hand in the right hole, I still found it interesting that orangutans chose to place their hand in different holes. Maybe it is a matter of intellect, or general boredom, or maybe they chose not to follow the crowd because others had already done the same thing. I am not sure, but this article made me think about “peer repeating behavior” and why the orangutans did not copy it” (NYTimes). What do you think? Do you think other species are prone to follow the pack or follow their own instincts as opposed to the majority?