Chimps Too Make Friends Based on Trust

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Trustworthy Friendship

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany has suggested that chimpanzees, much like humans, choose friends based on trust. The findings of the study which were published in the journal ‘Current Biology’ overrules the fact that friendship based on trust is not the sole asset of human beings.

This has been asserted after fifteen chimpanzees were observed over a five–month period. During this phase, based on each chimpanzee’s choices and activities, researchers were able to identify each chimpanzee’s closest friend and non–friend. Also, they were made to play a modified version of what is known as the human trust game, both with the friend and non-friend.

Chimpanzees, during the game had the choice of pulling a no–trust and a trust rope. Whenever a no–trust rope was pulled, the first chimpanzee got an immediate access to a food it did not like. But when the trust rope was pulled, the other chimpanzee got an immediate access to a food item that it liked. The other chimpanzee also had an alternative of sending back a treat to the first chimpanzee. However, it was noticed that the trust rope offered a potential win–win situation for both the chimpanzees, the only condition being that the first chimpanzee trusted the other to send back something. Every chimpanzee played the game for about twelve times each, with both its friend and non–friend.

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