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Humans and monkeys share Machiavellian intelligence
Date:10/24/2007

f the well-established social structure evaporates: when a group of rhesus macaques confronts another one and monkey warfare begins. Rhesus macaques dislike strangers and will viciously attack their own image in a mirror, thinking its a stranger threatening them. When warfare begins, Even a low-ranking rhesus loner becomes an instant patriot. Every drop of xenophobia in rhesus blood is transformed into fuel for battle, Maestripieri wrote.

What rhesus macaques and humans may have in common is that many of their psychological and behavioral dispositions have been shaped by intense competition between individuals and groups during the evolutionary history of these species Maestripieri said. Rhesus groups can function like armies, and this may explain why these monkeys have been so successful in the competition with other primates.

Pressure to find Machiavellian solutions to social problems may also have led to the evolution of larger human brains.

Our Machiavellian intelligence is not something we can be proud of, but it may be the secret of our success. If it contributed to the evolution of our large brains and complex cognitive skills, it also contributed to the evolution of our ability to engage in noble spiritual and intellectual activities, including our love and compassion for other people, Maestripieri said.


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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8356
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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