How do social animals decide how to interact with others?

Sarah Brosnan studies the mechanisms underlying cooperation, reciprocity, inequity, and other economic decisions in nonhuman primates from an evolutionary perspective. She looks at the decisions individuals make and how they make them, how their social or ecological environments affect their decisions and interactions, and under what circumstances they can alter their behaviors depending on these conditions.



Monkey Business

Sarah has released a study helping prove that primates share similar feelings of inequity to humans and she will extend the research with a five-year National Science Foundation grant. In the next round of research, Sarah will work with Bart Wilson at Chapman University to do similar hands-on and computer game-like experiments on both humans and primates. The idea is to better understand how economic decision making strategies evolved and which, if any, are uniquely human.

– Science Nation, National Science Foundation