Monkey gets upset about receiving unequal pay (Video)

Dutch primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal shows a video of two Capuchin monkeys in side-by-side cages. Each monkey is given the same task to complete: handing the experimenter a rock. Their "pay" is a slice of cucumber. But when the experimenter starts paying one of the monkeys in grapes (which the monkeys like better than cucumbers), the monkey who was being paid in cucumbers protests.
(Via 22 Words)


  1. Proof positive that creatures with the capacity to think universally get uppity when things are obviously unfair.

    As a corollary I posit that the Wallstreeters are either sub-intelligent slugs or are amoral, unethical jerks, or both.

    1. Oh no, wall streeters are more than capable of getting pissed as hell if things are unfair.

      Just notice which of the two monkeys “recognize unfairness” and get upset about it.

    2. I think the point is that whichever monkey is getting paid less will think that the system is unfair, while I’m sure that further tests would show that the monkey getting paid more believes that he is smarter and/or working harder and therefore deserves to get paid more.

      1. The fact that the cucumber-getter is getting all upset just shows that he’s lazy and dependent on the government. If he had had the brilliant foresight to be placed in the right-hand cage, he would be getting justly rewarded with grapes, but you’ll never get the ungrateful sod to understand that.

        1.  Fully 47% of monkeys are willingly in left hand cages out of sheer laziness and lack of good work ethics, when with just a little determination and hard work they could be in right hand cages and enjoying the fruits of their labors (so to speak).

      2. Indeed, unfortunately they are just trained monkeys, fed at the whim of the human and therefore neither of them is really any better off or better than the other and certainly not better off than the human. Which I suspect a lot of the top echelons of society (human) think that they are superior creatures and that all their “serfs” are just little monkeys singing and dancing in a cage for table scraps.

        Clearly it’s not the guy down the hall with a nicer cubicle or even the guy a few floors up with an actual office we should be focusing on as to why our lot in life stinks; it’s the guys on the outside of the box looking at all their dancing little monkeys toiling away for a handful of fruit while they kick back and eat steak. Or something like that anyway.

  2. I was left with the overwhelming question…..did that monkey ever get a grape?  When the test was over? 

    1.  They were both euthanised and had their brains dissected. Then the researcher ate all the remaining grapes and cucumber.

  3. If the monkey is protesting like an American, he’ll demand that the other monkey’s grapes be downgraded back to cucumber slices.  It’s only fair.

    If the monkey is protesting like a foreign anarchist, he’ll demand that he be paid in grapes like the other guy.  Further study is warranted.

    1.  Meanwhile, a third monkey who received 4,765 grapes thinks these two are fucking slackers who should be lucky to get half a cucumber slice when monkeys overseas are getting a third a cucumber slice for the same work.

  4. In our house we often use the expression “where’s my grape,” to describe unfair situations (we heard about these tests several years ago). 

    1. I like grapes so I’d have to twist up your phrase and say… “Just take your cucumber and shaddup about it!”

  5. I saw a thing once about chimps being made to share their bunches of grapes, but one chimp did this by eating all the grapes and then sharing just the stalks with the other chimp.
    “What? He got half the bunch! The half made of stalks.”

  6. Someday the monkeys will realize the real solution is to cooperate in cracking open the head of the experimenter with the rock, putting an end to these manipulative games.

    1.  Just wait until cuke-monkey gets a chance to sink it’s teeth into the hand of unfairness.  Debts will be paid!

  7. We are talking about unequal pay for the same work and all people can think of is Wallstreet. 


    1. I know right?  If anything, this is the equivalent of the whole gender disparity with equal pay.  For Wallstreet it would be as if the second monkey threw poo at the examiner and got a bushel of grapes.

      1.  Or the grape monkey got the experimenter to give him half of the cukes on top of all the grapes, as a bailout

  8. This totally seems like the kind of groundbreaking experiment that it’s worth keeping another sentient being in a cage for! Obviously we humans are making great strides in understanding ‘fairness’.

  9. Mitt Romney: “50% of monkeys are getting free food from lab technicians, yet they see themselves as victims. I think they only have themselves to blame.”

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