Episode 328 Hundreth Monkey Experiment-Psychics and your consciousness
Welcome back listeners and new listeners! On today's episode we discuss the strange and unusual 100 Monkey Experiement and how we think it works. Does the mind project thoughts? How does consciousness effect ourselves and others? Can our thoughts influence others?
Tune in and find out on the 328th episode of the 222 Paranormal Podcast!
Hundredth monkey effect
The hundredth monkey effect is a phenomenon in which a new behavior or idea is spread rapidly by unexplained means from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group exhibit the new behavior or acknowledge the new idea. The behavior was said to propagate even to groups that are physically separated and have no apparent means of communicating with each other.
Since it was first popularized, the effect has been discredited in many cases of research. One of the primary factors in the spread of this concept is that many authors quote secondary, tertiary, or post-tertiary sources that have themselves misrepresented the original observations.
Between 1952 and 1953, primatologists conducted a behavioral study of a troop of Macaca fuscata (Japanese monkeys) on the island of Kōjima. The researchers would supply these troops with such foods as sweet potatoes and wheat in open areas, often on beaches. An unanticipated byproduct of the study was that the scientists witnessed several innovative evolutionary behavioral changes by the troop, two of which were orchestrated by one young female, and the others by her sibling or contemporaries. The account of only one of these behavioral changes spread into a phenomenon (i.e., the 'hundredth monkey effect'), which Watson would then loosely publish as a story.
According to Watson, the scientists observed that some of the monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes, initially through an 18-month-old female member (named "Imo" by the researchers) of the troop in 1953. Imo discovered that sand and grit could be removed from the potatoes by washing them in a stream or in the ocean. Gradually, this new potato-washing habit spread through the troop—in the usual fashion, through observation and repetition. (Unlike most food customs, this behavior was learned by the older generation of monkeys from younger ones.).
This behavior spread up until 1958, according to Watson, when a sort of group consciousness had suddenly developed among the monkeys, as a result of one last monkey learning potato washing by conventional means (rather than the one-monkey-at-a-time method prior). Watson concluded that the researchers observed that, once a critical number of monkeys was reached—i.e., the hundredth monkey—this previously learned behavior instantly spread across the water to monkeys on nearby islands.
Watson first published the story in a foreword to Lawrence Blair's Rhythms of Vision (1975); the story then spread with the appearance of Watson's 1979 book Lifetide: The Biology of the Unconscious.
Original research (1950s)
The original Koshima research was undertaken by a team of scientists as a secondary consequence of 1948 research on semi-wild monkeys in Japan. The Koshima troop was identified as segregated from other monkeys and, from 1950, used as a closed study group to observe wild Japanese macaque behavior. While studying the group, the team would drop sweet potatoes and wheat on the beach and observe the troop's behavior. In 1954, a paper was published indicating the first observances of one monkey, Imo, washing her sweet potatoes in the water.
Her changed behavior led to several feeding behavior changes over the course of the next few years, all of which was of great benefit in understanding the process of teaching and learning in animal behavior. A brief account of the behavioral changes can be seen below:
The young first teach their contemporaries and immediate family, who all benefit from the new behavior and teach it to their contemporaries.
If the parents or their contemporaries (or their parents) are too old, they do not adopt the behavior.
Once the initial group has children, a change occurs in the dynamic of the behavior from teaching previous and current generations to a new dynamic where the next generation learns by observation. The behavior is no longer actively taught but passively observed and mimicked.
The first innovator continues to innovate. The young monkey who started potato washing also learned how to sift wheat grains out of the sand by throwing handfuls of sand and wheat into the water, then catching the wheat that floated to the top. This invention was also copied using the above teaching and learning process until there were too many monkeys on the island with too little wheat apportioned, which is when competition became too fierce and the stronger monkeys would steal the collected wheat from the weaker ones, so they stopped the learned behavior in self-preservation.
The innovator’s sibling started another innovation whereas the monkeys were initially fearful of the ocean, only deigning to put their hands and feet into it, the wheat-straining innovation led to monkeys submerging more of their bodies in the water, or play-splashing in the ocean. This behavior was again copied using the above teaching and learning processes.