Theft in an ultimatum game: chimpanzees and bonobos are insensitive to unfairness.

Published

Journal Article

Humans, but not chimpanzees, punish unfair offers in ultimatum games, suggesting that fairness concerns evolved sometime after the split between the lineages that gave rise to Homo and Pan. However, nothing is known about fairness concerns in the other Pan species, bonobos. Furthermore, apes do not typically offer food to others, but they do react against theft. We presented a novel game, the ultimatum theft game, to both of our closest living relatives. Bonobos and chimpanzee 'proposers' consistently stole food from the responders' portions, but the responders did not reject any non-zero offer. These results support the interpretation that the human sense of fairness is a derived trait.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kaiser, I; Jensen, K; Call, J; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • December 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 942 - 945

PubMed ID

  • 22896269

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22896269

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-957X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1744-9561

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0519

Language

  • eng