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Bonobos prefer jerks

While humans generally prefer individuals who are nice to others, a study finds bonobos are more attracted to jerks. Even human infants as young as three months old show an ability to distinguish nice guys from creeps and prefer interacting with people they see helping others over those who are mean, previous studies show. The researchers were surprised by the findings because bonobos -- our closest relatives in the animal kingdom along with chimpanzees -- have been shown to be less aggressive than chimps. To find out if our closest relatives share the same social bias, scientists studied adult bonobos at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In a series of trials, they showed 24 bonobos videos featuring either helpful or harmful behaviors. Afterwards, the researchers offered the bonobos apples, placed next to depictions of each type of behavior. In the trials, the bonobos were able to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful individuals just like humans can. But unlike humans, most bonobos tended to choose the jerks, as evidenced by their choices of apples. The results support the idea that a tendency to avoid individuals who mistreat others is one of the things that make humans different from other species.

Visit Website | Image credit: Christopher Krupenye/Duke University