What’s the difference between a preschooler and a monkey? They’re both cute, cuddly and bipedal on a good day. But it turns out the preschooler is a lot better at sharing.
You may not be totally convinced of that if you’ve spent any time in a daycare room. But scientists at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews spent five years studying the ways that three- and four-year-olds share information and rewards to help each other solve problems – and all the ways that chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys don’t. The researchers are convinced that this generosity with information is exactly why human knowledge has become so sophisticated so fast, leaving chimps in the cultural dust.
“Our study proves that it is our social skills and, in particular, the human ability to cooperate that explains our successes and achievements in a fast-moving technological age,” lead researcher Dr. Lewis Dean says in a press release.
So if you’re marvelling at the processing speed of the new iPad, chew on this: It’s a good thing the folks at Apple play as nicely as preschoolers, instead of behaving like the hairier of the primates. You’d have trouble logging onto YouTube with a moldy banana peel.