Monkey Experiment or Welcome to Clark College

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Wed Mar 5 14:01:44 MST 2003


Four monkeys were put into a room. In the center of the room was a tall pole
with a bunch of bananas suspended from the top. One particularly hungry
monkey eagerly scampered up the pole, intent on retrieving a banana. Just as
he reached out to grasp the banana, he was hit with a torrent of cold water
from an overhead shower. With a squeal, the monkey abandoned its quest and
retreated down the pole. Each monkey attempted, in turn, to secure the
banana. Each received an equally chilly shower, and each scampered down
without the prize. After repeated drenchings, the monkeys finally gave up on
the bananas.

With the primates thus conditioned, one of the original four was removed
from the experiment and a new monkey added. No sooner had this new, innocent
monkey started up the pole than his (or her) companions reached up and
yanked the surprised creature back down the pole. The monkey got the
message-don't climb the pole. After a few such aborted attempts, but without
ever having received a cold shower, the new monkey stopped trying to get the
bananas. One by one, each of the original monkeys was replaced. Each new
monkey learned the same lesson. Don't climb the pole. None of the new
monkeys ever made it to the top of the pole. None even got so far as a cold
shower. Not one understood precisely why pole climbing was discouraged, but
they all respected the well-established precedent. Even after the shower was
removed, no monkey ventured up the pole.


James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyii
Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
http://www.home.earthlink.net/~blkfoot5
<http://www.home.earthlink.net/~blkfoot5>
Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present
controls the past." (George Orwell)
"...every anticipation of results which are first to be proved seems
disturbing to me...(Karl Marx, "Grundrisse")





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