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|A Bit Of Fun|
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|15-12-2005, 04:27 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2005
A Bit Of Fun
An experiment in learning
In this experiment, five monkeys are put into a large cage. There’s a stool in the
middle of the cage and a banana is hung from the ceiling above the stool.
Outside the cage, an observer has a hose filled with ice water. It hardly needs
mentioning that monkeys like bananas better than ice cold showers.
Within a few minutes, the most daring of the monkeys climbs on the stool to get
the banana. This effort immediately engenders an ice cold shower for all of the
monkeys. Several minutes later, another monkey tries, with the same result. The
monkeys quickly learn the relationship between “get on the stool” and “an ice
cold shower” and choose a way to protect themselves. As soon as one monkey
even tries to go near the stool, the other four jump on him, screaming and
gesticulating, to stop him before the observer gets the “signal” to spray them all
with ice water.
Some time and several fights later, all the monkeys have learned the rule, and
become quickly indifferent to the stool, as if it weren’t even there. The defensive
tactic they had imagined becomes superfluous. The banana stays where it is,
safe and sound on the ceiling. Life in the cage is organized around this new
At this point in the experiment, the observer takes out one of the monkeys and
replaces him with a new monkey (one that doesn’t know anything about the cold
shower). The new monkey immediately climbs on the stool to get the banana,
and after a moment’s hesitation, the four others jump on him. The new monkey
learns a quick lesson, without any action on the part of observer. The ice cold
shower is no longer necessary, and the banana rots nicely on the ceiling.
The experiment continues. Each of the original four monkeys are replaced, one
after another, exactly like the first replacement. Each time, the scene repeats
itself: the new one tries to climb on the stool, is jumped on by the four others,
until they are sure he has learned his lesson.
The rule “no one should climb on the stool” is a lesson that new monkeys learn in
this group that is specific to this group and to no other.
In the end, none of the five monkeys knows why they should not get on the stool,
yet they defend the law with more vehemence than the original five. No one
knows that, in fact, it was a quite effective way to avoid getting an ice cold
shower. None of the new monkeys ever got the ice cold shower. They were
stopped before the shower came. Even though the original reason has
disappeared, the rule has become a norm for this group. A self-perpetuating
norm, kept in place by interactions, and never questioned.
For a new observer, this norm, whose origin is unknown, is nothing but a
ridiculous constraint that keeps the monkeys from getting the banana. And yet,
the system reproduces itself continually, because the monkeys, limited by their
own cognitive system, cannot learn this lesson. If everyone is always doing the
same thing, there’s not a lot of thinking going on.
Any similarity between this story and the behavior patterns in an organization is:
* Totally outrageous!
* Sometimes true
* I’ve seen this once or twice
* ICreativity’s Arch Enemy
My my, doesn't this sound somewhat familiar............
|20-12-2005, 12:22 PM||#3|
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Phuket, Thailand
And once you have trained your monkeys into the behavioral pattern, you only need to pay them peanuts to keep them happy.
Don't have false hopes. There is no such thing as Get Rich Quick.
If you can cut your losses, you will increase your profit
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