Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Follow the Leader . . . Or Not

I read this great story about a research study done with chimps.

In an enclosure of a group of chimps, researchers placed a pole with a platform on top. On the platform, they placed goodies chimps favor. However, when one of the chimps would start to climb the pole to reach the goodies, the researchers would spray water on the rest of the troop.

Soon, whenever a chimp tried to climb the pole, the other chimps would drag the climber down.

When that behavior was well established, researchers began to change the balance of the troop, removing one original member while adding a new chimp. And they stopped spraying the water.

The chimps continued to prevent the new member from climbing the pole to get the food reward.

Eventually, researchers had replaced all the original chimps with a new troop, none of whom had ever been sprayed with water, yet, they continued to pull down any chimp who tried to climb the pole.

Remind you of any people you know?

We can't do
that because we always do this.

Moral of the story?

Sometimes you have to thumb your nose at the other chimps and climb the pole anyway.

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