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双语:科学家发现猴子也会“理财”
爱语吧 2018-05-08 16:03 浏览871次

研究人员做了一个实验,发现猴子像人一样,也会“理财”,也许,这个 “猴子经济学”反映出一个现象,即天性中的一些怪异特质不会随着进化而消退。

  On a island off the coast of Puerto Rico, a fascinating simian experiment has taken place. The results could give us a deeper understanding of behavioural economics, the psychology of risk and may explain why our economies suffer from periodic financial crises.

  在波多黎各海岸的一个岛上,有人做了一次有意思的猴类实验。实验结果可以加深人们对行为经济学和风险心理学的了解,同时,它可能也解释了为什么人类的经济会遭遇周期性的金融危机。

  It involved six Capuchin monkeys named after James Bond characters.

  这项实验用了6只卷尾猴,以007詹姆斯.邦德的角色命名。

  Researchers trained the monkeys to exchange small metal tokens for food. They were put in a makeshift tiny market where experimenters would offer different foods at different prices.

  研究人员以小型金属代币交换食物对这些猴子进行了训练,然后安排它们到一个临时的小市场进行实验,他们会提供标记不同价格的食物。

  One of those trading with monkeys was Laurie Santos, a professor of cognitive science and psychology at Yale University. “We could use that set up to really ask, do the monkeys pay attention to things like price - are they trying to maximise their monkey token dollar?” she explains.

  劳丽.桑托斯是与猴子进行交易的人员之一,她是美国耶鲁大学的认知科学和心理学教授。她解释说:“我们想利用这种设置来解开疑团,猴子们会关注价格之类的东西吗?它们会最大化利用手中的代币吗?”

  “What we found surprising was, with very little training, the monkeys shopped at experimenters who gave them food more cheaply. So if they got twice as much food for one token with an experimenter, the monkeys shopped there more often.”

  她说:“我们发现,令人惊奇的是,猴子虽然受了很少的训练,但它们购物时总是到给它们的食物较便宜的研究人员那里。因此,如果它们在某位研究人员处用一个代币能买到两倍多的食物,它们就会多光顾。”

  The monkeys also displayed other human-like traits such as opportunism. They tried to grab any tokens that were left lying around while the scientists were not paying attention. Primates engaging in some monkey business no doubt. Nevertheless, it also showed that the monkeys considered the tokens as valuable items.

  猴子还表现出其他类似人类的行为,例如机会主义。它们尝试抓取科学家们留下来的一些无人看管的代币。毋庸置疑,灵长类动物的行为常常都是胡闹的。不过,实验也证明,猴子视那些代币为有价值的物品。

  However, it is the monkeys’ attitude to risk that might hold the most intriguing lessons for us humans.

  然而,正是猴子对待风险的态度,可能为人类上了最有趣的一课。

  The researchers introduced an element of choice into their experiment. They could trade with one of two people. One would give them two pieces of food, grapes in this case, for their token, every time they traded. It was a no-lose, safe option.

  研究人员在他们的实验中引入了一种选择成分。猴子可以和两人中的一个交易。在其中一人那里,每次交易时,代币都可以换得两份食物,比如说葡萄。这是一个没有损失的,安全的选择。

  But the other gave them either one grape or three grapes, in exchange for their token. The second deal carried more risk as half the time it was one grape, the other half three.

  而在另一个人那里,猴子的代币有时可换得一份葡萄,有时是三份。这第二种交易就风险更大,因为一份葡萄和三份葡萄的概率各占一半。

  Translated into human terms, look at it like this: You have a choice, you could get a guaranteed $2000 or have a 50% chance of getting $1000 and a 50% chance of $3000.

  把这个与人类的行为比对,看起来是这样的:一种情况下,你能万无一失的得到2000块,另一种情况,你可能得到1000块或是3000块,概率分别是50%.

  To gamble or not to gamble - which option would you choose?

  要不要博一下——如果是你,你会怎样选择?

  Most people will go for the safe option - they take the $2000. That is also what monkeys do.

  大多数人都会做出最安全的选择——拿走2000块。猴子也是这样做的。

  So far so good. Apes and monkeys are, after all, our nearest animal relatives. We share a common evolutionary history. However, once the experiment was adjusted so that the monkeys had the same options but from a different starting point, something fascinating happened.

  毕竟,目前来看,猿和猴子是与人类关系最亲近的动物了。我们有着共同的进化史。然而,一旦这个实验做出调整,使开头不同,让猴子有着同样的购物选择,有趣的事就发生了。

  Professor Laurie Santos explains “So the monkeys come in and it looks like both experimenters [are] kind of holding three [grapes] so this monkey brain is probably thinking ‘oh there’s a chance to get three.’ One guy is safe, he does the same thing every time...the monkey trades with this guy [and] he’s holding three but he takes one away and gives the monkeys two so it’s kind of a sure loss - a small loss but a sure one,” says Santos. “The second guy is risky - sometimes he gives the monkeys all three but sometimes he takes two away and only gives the monkeys one.”

  桑托斯教授解释说,“猴子来了,它看到两个实验前都有三份葡萄,此时,这只猴子的大脑里很可能就在琢磨,‘噢!我有机会得到三份葡萄’,到其中一人那里去,很安全,他每次都做一样的事——猴子与他交易,他拿走一份,剩余两份给了猴子,所以猴子必然是损失了——小小的损失但确保了手中有吃的。”她又说,“而到第二个人那里去是有风险的——有时他把三份全给猴子,有时他拿走两份只给猴子一份。”

  Again, let’s look at that another way: You start with $3000, now you have a choice. Either you take a guaranteed loss of $1000 leaving you with only $2000 or you gamble. If you gamble half the time, you will lose $2000 leaving you with just $1000 but half the time you will not lose anything. What would you do?

  再一次,让我们换个角度来看:一开始那儿就有3000块,现在你面临一个选择:拿走2000失去1000,还是去博一下得到全部?如果你赌一把,你有可能得到1000,失去了2000,也有可能3000全到手。你会怎么办?


  Most people will gamble and go for the riskier choice. Surprisingly, so do the monkeys. The thought of losing out is so painful that they will risk a bigger loss just for a chance of no loss.

  大多数人都会赌一把,选择风险更高的。让人吃惊的是,猴子居然也是这么做的。损失的感受是如此痛苦,以至于他们会冒更大的风险用来止损。

  When stocks and shares crash or house prices collapse, you might expect people to become more cautious. In fact, they take more risks. People will hold onto stock that is losing value, speculating the price will rise again, because we can’t bear the thought of having less than we have now. This is loss aversion.

  当股票跳水或者房价暴跌时,你可能会认为人们会变得更加谨慎。事实上,他们承担了更高的风险。人们会认为股价会反弹起来的,从而购买正在缩水的股票,因为我们无法忍受我们将来拥有的比现在还少。这就是“损失规避”。


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