January 23, 2023
Adolescent chimpanzees share some of the same risk-taking behaviors as human teens, but they may be less impulsive than their human counterparts, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The study gets at age-old nature/nurture questions about why adolescents take more risks: because of environment or because of biological predispositions?
"Adolescent chimpanzees are in some sense facing the same psychological tempest that human teens are," said lead researcher Alexandra Rosati, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and anthropology at the University of Michigan. "Our findings show that several key features of human adolescent psychology are also seen in our closest primate relatives."
The researchers conducted two tests involving food rewards with 40 wild-born chimpanzees at a sanctuary in Republic of Congo. The chimpanzees voluntarily participated in the games in order to receive food treats. The research was published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.