Free «Social Behavior and Monkeys» Essay Sample
Social behavior is generally viewed as interactions between humans. However, monkeys may also serve as an example for the examination of the basic patterns of social behavior. A close investigation of their actions and choices in the natural environment and under the conditions of the human-designed experiments may help understand not only the widely known theoretical principles but determine some previously unknown aspects. The current paper examines the interaction of monkeys with one another and its similarities to the behavior of humans.
At the beginning, it may seem that monkeys interact with one another in a chaotic way. However, a closer examination demonstrates that some stable social patterns are present. Monkeys tend to interact with those relatives that help them satisfy their current needs in the most efficient way. Their needs may include food, safety, and other similar issues. It shows that the members of all species understand that some of their needs may be better satisfied via the cooperation with others. In other words, even without any positive psychological attitude towards others, the need for social cooperation objectively exists.
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It seems that monkeys’ behavior presents the simplistic representation of the behavior of humans. However, they allow focusing on the most basic patterns of the human behavior. In fact, the satisfaction of higher social needs by people is possible only when all their fundamental requirements are satisfied. In this context, they have a number of similarities with monkeys. For example, the reaction of children to new threats is almost identical to the one of monkeys. They also try to find support from other social members familiar to them especially relatives.
All human beings need social interaction. It is not only the empirical observation but also the sociological necessity. The external world poses a number of threats that cannot be adequately addressed be a person in isolation. Moreover, it seems that the higher level of humans’ development may be largely attributed to their more substantial involvement in social cooperation. People understand that social interaction may be effective not only in relation to the most fundamental needs, but also in the other ones. As all individuals are different, it is reasonable to specialize on those areas where everyone has some comparative advantages. In this way, the social system as a whole may be optimized because a large number of mutually beneficial exchanges are possible.
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The Harlow monkey experiment shows that even in order to investigate the external environment, monkeys (as well as other species) need to feel support from the other members of their group (Baker, 2010). The same pattern is also observed in relation to other new and unknown activities. People also cannot solve all problems in isolation. Even if a particular issue is not difficult but is associated with a significant degree of uncertainty, humans need support. It allows realizing risky projects and contributes to the development of the entire community.
Humans realize the significance of social cooperation and consistently apply its principles to all main spheres. The lack of rationality of other species does not allow them obtaining similar advantages to those of humans. Therefore, it seems that the reason and social cooperation are the main factors of the humans’ domination in the modern world. Moreover, the more complex the current world becomes the higher needs for social cooperation emerge. The present global environment cannot exist without the corresponding network of social interactions (Lehman & Geller, 2004). The development of social media and modern technologies demonstrates the same tendency. Although it seems paradoxical, the source of all these innovations is in the same basic needs that are observed in relations of monkeys.
I have learned a number of important things from conducting the field observation research. First, I understand that the researcher needs some time in order to understand the essence of events. Some laws and tendencies may become obvious only after some time. At the beginning, I was unable to see any aspects of rationality or purposeful behavior in monkeys. However, after some time, I have realized that all monkeys’ actions have some goal (Living Links Centre, 2010). Moreover, they try to realize their objectives in the most rational way. Although their needs are mostly limited to obtaining food and protection from the potential enemies, they demonstrate the basic principle of behavior that is typical for all species. All of them want to realize their goals, maximize their positive results, and minimize pain or risks.
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Another lesson for me is the importance of formulating initial hypotheses and verifying them in accordance with the scientific method. On this basis, it is possible to arrive at the correct conclusions about previously unknown issues. I think this empiricist methodology is highly relevant for sociology as it is impossible to investigate all sociological problems exclusively using a priori reasoning.
It may be concluded that investigating the monkeys’ behavior significantly contributes to the understanding of the principles of social cooperation and the ways of dealing with various social problems. Monkeys demonstrate the basic social patterns in a slightly primitive way. However, the essence of their behavior is very similar to the one of children and even humans in general. They help understand that the need for social interaction is objective, and it exists in all spheres and is identical for all species. Therefore, it may serve as a foundation for subsequent deep research in the field of social behavior. The use of empiricist methodology and conducting experiments seem to be highly reasonable, as well.
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