Article | PLoS ONE | January 29, 2014

Give What You Get: Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus Apella) and 4-Year-Old Children Pay Forward Positive and Negative Outcomes to Conspecifics.

by Kristin L. Leimgruber, Adrian F. Ward, Jane Widness, Michael I. Norton, Kristina R. Olson, Kurt Gray and Laurie R. Santos

Abstract

The breadth of human generosity is unparalleled in the natural world, and much research has explored the mechanisms underlying and motivating human prosocial behavior. Recent work has focused on the spread of prosocial behavior within groups through paying-it-forward, a case of human prosociality in which a recipient of generosity pays a good deed forward to a third individual, rather than back to the original source of generosity. While research shows that human adults do indeed pay forward generosity, little is known about the origins of this behavior. Here, we show that both capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and 4-year-old children pay forward positive and negative outcomes in an identical testing paradigm. These results suggest that a cognitively simple mechanism present early in phylogeny and ontogeny leads to paying forward positive, as well as negative, outcomes.

Keywords: Prosociality; reciprocity; cooperation; Gratitude; Affect; Behavior;

Citation:

Leimgruber, Kristin L., Adrian F. Ward, Jane Widness, Michael I. Norton, Kristina R. Olson, Kurt Gray, and Laurie R. Santos. "Give What You Get: Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus Apella) and 4-Year-Old Children Pay Forward Positive and Negative Outcomes to Conspecifics." PLoS ONE 9, no. 1 (January 29, 2014).