The Chimpomat

In one of our recent posts, there was a reference to the Chimpomat, a token-operated vending machine for chimpanzees created at the Yerkes Laboratories in the 1930s. Here's more info about it.

"Subject Kambi is shown about to drop a token into the slot of the chimpomat to 'purchase' food."

Info from The Ape People (1971) by Geoffrey H. Bourne:

The Yerkes Laboratories eventually developed a device known as a Chimpomat. This Chimpomat would receive either metal or plastic disks and would dispense some form of food reward in return for the insertion of a disk. Animals were eventually taught to pull the box of weights up to the cage in return for plastic or metal disks which they could then take and put in the Chimpomat to get their reward.

By the process of lengthening the time between which they could earn the reward and when they could actually receive it by using the Chimpomat (by making the Chimpomat available only certain times of the day), the animals could be trained to collect plastic disks, in other words, to work for money. They would store up this money until the time came for them to spend it. Eventually they were trained to earn the money one day and spend it in the Chimpomat the following day.

On these occasions the animals used to walk around clutching their earnings to their breasts, sleeping on them at night so they would not be stolen, and getting very hysterical if any other animal came near their earnings or tried to take any of them away—a very human side of their actuvity and the dawn of ownership of private property and capitalism, a thought that has intriguing implications.
     Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 02, 2023
     Category: Animals | Science | 1930s

This experiment was done again in 2005.

"How scientists taught monkeys the concept of money. Not long after, the first prostitute monkey appeared"
Posted by Phideaux on 10/02/23 at 06:23 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.