A fascinating look at Primate Research

© 2016 Jim Spence - A few years ago behavioral psychologists at a major university did a groundbreaking study on tribes and rituals within primate populations. They started with a cage containing four monkeys. Inside the cage the researchers hung a banana on a string from the top of the cage and then placed a set of stairs under the banana. If a monkey climbed to the top step he could reach the banana.
Before long one of the more ambitious monkeys went to the foot of the stairs and began to climb towards the banana. The psychologists waited until the monkey had climbed two of the five steps and then they turned a hose on ALL of the monkeys, and sprayed them for several seconds with a heavy dose of very cold water.
Apparently, it still seemed reasonable to the monkeys to go after the free banana after the first water spraying because after a short passage of time, another monkey was observed making an attempt to get the banana. As soon as the second monkey began to go up the stairs, the researchers sprayed all four of the monkeys with another blast of cold water, sending them scurrying to the far corners of the cage.
After a much longer wait, a third monkey approached the stairs. This time the other monkeys, nervous about the cold water backlash, physically prevented him from climbing the stairs. He quickly yielded.
The next stage of the research project involved removing one of the four original monkeys from the cage and replacing him with a new monkey that had been kept elsewhere out of sight and sound. Almost immediately the new monkey noticed the banana and moved towards the stairs. When the new monkey took the first step all three of the other monkeys attacked him violently. After the poor new monkey waited a couple of hours he made a second attempt. Again the other monkeys pounced on him, bit him, clawed him, and beat on him. From this point forward the new monkey ignored the banana.
Image result for monkeys in cagesNext the researchers removed another of the original four monkeys, and replaced him with another new monkey. Not long after the second new monkey’s placement in the cage, the newcomer could not resist the banana and he went to the stairs. Just as was the case with the first new monkey, the second new monkey was attacked by the other three monkeys, including the previous newcomer, who actually took part in the punishment – with great enthusiasm. The researchers surmised that this monkey must have felt that he was now part of the "tribe" who understood the ritual.
Eventually, the researchers replaced a third original monkey with a new monkey, and then the fourth.  Each time the newest monkey tried to get on the stairs only to be attacked by the other three monkeys.
Having replaced all of the original monkeys with new monkeys in this behavioral experiment, none of the monkeys now occupying the cage had ever been sprayed with cold water for going towards the banana. But each knew the ritual, despite the fact that none of the monkeys could possibly have any idea why they were participating in the beating of any monkey that might try climbing the stairs.
After this pattern went on and on, the explanation behind this research of primate behavior was actually pretty simple. In the minds of these monkeys, they had become part of the “tribe.” They engaged in a nonsensical ritual because that is what they had always done.
This experiment explains perfectly the tribal behavior in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. It makes perfect sense to grab free bananas, just as it makes perfect sense for everyone to eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. However, when all the monkeys in any primate tribe get conditioned, even conditioned to stop acting in their best interests, they become monkeys living in a cage......the cage we know better as Washington D.C.
Considering the mountains of data on this subject, perhaps it is time to replace ALL of the monkeys in Washington at the SAME TIME. It is the only way to end the nonsensical rituals that serve very little purpose.
Please do not misunderstand my reason for sharing the conclusions of this groundbreaking primate research with you. I mean no disrespect whatsoever towards monkeys.