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Monkeys are savvy shoppers too

Monkeys have a knack for shopping too, say US scientists who found simians to exhibit the human tendency of avoiding losses.

tech reviews Updated: Nov 09, 2005 12:45 IST

Monkeys have a knack for shopping too, say US scientists who found simians to exhibit the human tendency of avoiding losses and for acquiring gains.

Economist Keith Chen and psychologist Laurie Santos at Yale University studied capuchin monkeys, native to Central and South America, and found them rational like humans, the New Scientist reported.

Using metal chips as money, Chen and Santos induced the monkeys into buying bits of apple or cucumber from humans. They seemed to know what they're doing, the scientists said.

When they made apple cheaper than cucumber - offering more food for the same number of chips -, the capuchins opted for the better-value food, as any savvy shopper would, the report said.

Yet it is not the monkeys' good economic sense that Chen and Santos found most interesting. Rather, it was their tendency, on occasions, to make an irrational deal - and to do so in a distinctively human way.

First Published: Nov 09, 2005 12:45 IST