…[monkeys] have a rudimentary concept of economic choice, and researchers have discovered a medium of exchange — Berry Berry fruit drink — that can usefully stand in for money in a monkey’s mental life. To illustrate how monkeys make economic decisions, Glimcher’s former colleague Michael Platt, now at Duke, has investigated how they value status within their troop. Male monkeys have a distinct dominance hierarchy, and Platt has found they will give up a considerable quantity of fruit juice for the chance just to look at a picture of a higher-ranking individual. This is consistent with field observations, Platt says, which have found that social primates spend a lot of time just keeping track of the highest-ranking troop member.
Here is the full story, which is in fact a fascinating study of the new discipline of (human) neuroeconomics. Read the whole thing for an update on where economics is headed. Here is the ever-interesting Randall Parker on recent advances in the technology of neuroeconomics. Here is Kevin McCabe’s occasional neuroeconomics blog.
And here is a neuroeconomics link on how love can turn off parts of your brain.