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Researchers shed light on trading behavior in animals -- and humans
Date:6/8/2009

on personal interactions, humans have mechanisms to foster confidence in trade, such as legal or social penalties for those who don't follow through. At the simplest level, a critical aspect to confidence in trade is reputation reinforced through language, or gossip, which is something chimpanzees lack.

"I can say to someone, 'I gave this person a banana, and they were supposed to give me strawberries in return, but they didn't.' It's a powerful enforcer of reputation," Brosnan said.

The results of this research help scientists to better understand the roots of human economic behavior, Beran explained.

"We need to continue these kinds of tests with nonhuman animals to properly place human behavior in context with nonhuman behavior, and to understand the evolutionary roots of human economic decision making," he said.


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Contact: Jeremy Craig
jcraig@gsu.edu
404-413-1357
Georgia State University
Source:Eurekalert

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