Are humans unique in our way of thinking?

Are people really so special?
04 April 2017



Humans are smart, but are we really unique in our way of thinking?


Neuroscientists Philipe Bujold thought about this question from Alan...

Philipe - That’s a good one. I would have to say yes and no. Again a sort of half/half answer. The reason is yes, humans will be unique in certain ways. Obviously we have a brain that’s quite different to other animals; we have things like language. But if I look at pure economic decision making in that sense, we have very, very strong similarities with other animals in our lineage and it can go quite far back actually.

So let’s say things like fairness - monkeys will usually like things like fairness in the same way we do. Let’s say you give a grape to a monkey and then a cucumber to another one, usually the one that gets the cucumber will be very, very upset. And would prefer not to have anything and punish the person giving him the cucumber than other things.

You don’t necessarily see that in rats but as you go down you see all of the economic biases that we have slowly trickle down, although we still share a lot of things. So rats and pigeons will even share the effect of framing. Earlier I talked about the £3 versus £5. Well rats still show that, pigeons still show that. So yes, we have some unique biases but other animals share them too.


Add a comment