The 5 monkey fable – A story in conformity

One of my favorite modern fables is the 5 monkey experiment. I call it fable because as I search for it, it appears to not be a true experiment but it still has value as a story.

Fable: is a literary genre: a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals …

To do it justice, I will use the “verse” component for this blog. The story goes like this.

A group of scientists conducted an experiment.
They set up a cage with 5 monkeys and a ladder in the middle.

Every day they would put a banana on top of the ladder when a monkey got the banana all the others would be rewarded with a cold shower.

After a couple of days, the monkeys started beating up the monkey that tried to climb the ladder and reach for the banana.

After a couple of days, no monkey ever tried to climb the ladder, fearing the beating from the fellow monkeys. At this point, the group of scientists removed one of the monkeys from the cage and added a new one.

The first day the monkey, as expected, tries to climb the ladder and gets beat up by the other monkey. He soon realizes this is not allowed.

The experiment continues and the scientists keep removing monkeys and exchanging with other monkeys until there are no more monkeys from the initial group. At this time, they exchange the last monkey and observe.

The new monkey, as expected, tries to climb the ladder and gets beat up by its fellow monkeys. He realizes that climbing the ladder will be met with a swift beating. The experiment now ends.

Okay enough monkey business. The great thing about this story, like any fable, is the lesson. None of the monkeys in the final group knew why they could not climb the ladder. Not only that, but they also would rebel against anyone trying to climb it, because that was the norm.

Moral of the story. Don’t take behaviors for granted. Just because something is “the norm” does not make it right.

Monkey, Marmoset, Banana, Chimpanzee, Mammal, Cute

Cheers,

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