Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Primate Gamblers

MSNBC reports on a study tending to show that some monkeys will gamble more than makes sense--apparently gambling is rewarding.
"'It seemed very, very similar to the experience of people who are compulsive gamblers,' Platt points out. 'While it's always dangerous to anthropomorphize, it seemed as if these monkeys got a high out of getting a big reward that obliterated any memory of all the losses that they would experience following that big reward.'"
I've always thought people were dimorphic--there are the gamblers and the nongamblers--and this has evolutionary advantages. If we were all sticks-in-the-mud, we'd have no progress; if we were all gamblers, we'd destroy ourselves. So I'm looking for future studies that show the study is wrong. Maybe the scientists just created a monkey fad, similar to hula hoops or chlorophyll. Maybe it's true what Lincoln almost said: you can fool all of the monkeys some of the time, you can fool some of the monkeys all of the time, but you can't fool all of the monkeys all the time.

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