The Curious Monkey Analogy, also referred to as ‘five monkeys and a ladder’, is a social experiment themed analogy inspired in part both by the experiments of G.R. Stephenson, found in ‘Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys‘, as well as certain experiments with chimpanzees conducted by Wolfgang Kohler in the 1920s.
It’s liked mostly for it’s simplicity.
A thoughtful analogy, right?
There are a few flaws, mostly in that a lot of people point out that it actually shows an punishment avoidant bias as opposed to an oppressive one. That the morale of the story is in fact more along the lines of ‘old rules and traditions might not make sense to you, or even to your whole society, but it is good to uphold them. Should any new monkey go up the ladder they would have all been punished, which they are now avoiding by following their tradition.’
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