Concept/Content innate dispositions / consolation by rhesus monkey only a few months old
Information caption One way to assess foundational human motivation is to observe behavior before possible learning or training. Here, a macaque (or rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta) of a captive troop, only a few months old, is observed hugging another younger member who had just been assaulted sexually by one of the adult males: apparent unsolicited consolation (de Waal 1996). In a lab setting, human infants (age 18 months) and young chimps (ages 3 to 4 years) frequently help adult humans in simple problematic tasks without being asked and without reward (Wanneken and Tomasello 2006). Simple moral tendencies thus seem innate in humans and other primates, at least early in life. This raises the question remains how such feelings evolved, and whether the social environment was relevant historically
Inquiry caption 'These rhesus monkeys are only a few month old. The smaller monkey in front, a female, has just been molested by an adult" (de Waal 1996). What might be indicated by the other infant monkey (a male) hugging her?
Such acts of apparent consolation are not observed in older monkeys. Would you consider this behavior innate or learned? What might this indicate about human children and their observed spontaneous expressions of sympathy or help?
Target Concept: Humans and some other primates exhibit moral sentiments at a very early age.
Photographer Wisconsin Primate Center
Credit Wisconsin Primate Center. Courtesy of Frans de Waal.
SIZE in pixels [file size] 397x550

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