TEDGlobal 2010

A monkey economy as irrational as ours: Laurie Santos on TED.com

Posted by: Matthew Trost

Laurie Santos looks for the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. A clever series of experiments in “monkeynomics” shows that some of the silly choices we make, monkeys make too. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2010, July 2010 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 19:46)

Watch Laurie Santos’ talk on TED.com, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 700+ TEDTalks.

Comments (3)

  • commented on Jun 27 2012

    The difference between winning and losing is how you ask yourself the questions, even in racing sailboats. http://bhsailing.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/ted-blog-a-monkey-economy-as-irrational-as-ours-laurie-santos-on-ted-com/

  • commented on Jun 27 2012

    The difference between winning and losing is how you ask yourself the questions.

  • Earon Davis commented on Mar 7 2012

    Who says there’s no intelligent life on this planet :)
    I enjoyed the presentation on monkey’s irrational economic behavior. It rings true to me. I’ve come to the conclusion that human motivation is actually not very different from that of other primates, and that our “rational” thinking represents more of a window-dressing than actual reasoning. We explain/describe our behavior, often without a true understanding of why we did something.

    So, I agree that being more aware of our motivation brings us more potential to BE rational rather than just THINK we are rational. Your research is, therefore, not just helpful in understanding monkeys, but in understanding ourselves. It can serve to make us more humble and self-aware, as long as we are not mortified at how primitive most of our thinking actually is. You are making a real contribution to human sustainability!