Talk:Hundredth monkey effect

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Article Clarification[edit]

so after reading the article I'm unclear on something. Did the yam washing meme spread to other islands or not? this sentence:

There is no evidence at all of a critical number at which the idea suddenly spread to other islands, and none of the original researchers ever made such a claim.
makes it clear that there isn't a specific number (100) at which it spread, but it did spread right? or not? Would someone knowledgable in this topic please clarify the article and if you're feeling extra nice would you message me after you do so? thanks, TitaniumDreads 09:10, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
According to this site no, it did not spread across islands (or even across troupes of monkeys), and in fact the source of this meme had no contact with the original researchers. -Nakamura2828 03:04, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
It did not spread to other groups. The Koshima macaques were the only troop being provisioned with sweet potatoes. Kinji Imanishi was the researcher. He had nothing to do with this absurd theory, it was totally the invention of Lyle Watson, who evidently did not realize that the only monkeys that had the opportunity to eat sweet potatoes were in the Koshima island group. Even if the behavior telepathically spread to other groups, which is a ridiculous proposition, even then the other groups had no sweet potatoes to wash. Cmart (talk) 09:20, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


This phenomenon is sometimes called by a percentage; one form is that "once 13 percent of society does behavior X, everyone will." For example, "once 13 percent of people are environmentalists, everyone will become environmentalists." The logical flaw herein is that if it takes only 13% to effect a change, then NO change can take place -- because before the 13% threshold is reached, the rest of the population is engaged in some OTHER behavior, which will kick in the "13% phenomenon" in the other direction! For example, if 90% of people are NOT environmentalists, then of course that exceeds the 13% requirement, and so EVERYONE will suddenly become a non-environmentalist. There could never be any new behaviors at all, because the majority behavior would always wipe out any emergent behaviors by virtue of this same mythological action!

where is absolute truth?[edit]

Discussion of the above: The oringinal idea, myth or not, is about learning something absolutely new and how this can spead, not about how common sets of beliefs influnce others. Have you ever experienced how difficult it is to talk about something uncommon? After the same issue has entered mainstream it moves fast, for many reasons, of course. Even though the hundredth monkey hypothesis has not been proven or published in the original case (wich scientist would dare to ruin his/her career this way?), the effect can still be exsisting. RO

In human beings the rapid spread of knowledge is effected primarily via language (aided now by modern multimedia). In the absence of any known alternative physical means of transmission of information, (paranormal?) phenomena such as this must remain in the realm of pseudoscience. (The vague allusion to research without citation is rather telling, I should think.) RJCraig 04:48, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
There can't be anything magical about the number 100, but if the learned behaviour spreads in an exponential fashion, then it would appear that the population would be saturated once a critical mass was reached. Peter Grey 06:15, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
The article makes clear that the effect is almost telepathic. That if enough people sit and think peaceful thoughts, the world will suddenly change for the better. This is entirely different from any normal or known spread of knowledge. Indeed, without evidence of the effect, or the fogggiest idea of a possible mechanism, it would be apt to call this pseudoscience. It has nothing to do with exponential growth. Nor would ordinary exponential growth reproduce the effect. 68.239.176.150 19:26, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

"thought by many..."[edit]

The opening paragraph ends with a statement that even though the original story was discredited, the phenomenon is thought by many to exist. The cite is Myers 1985, but my perusal of that article does not indicate anything like many. This Wikipedia article explains further down that it's mostly New Agers that believe this, so unless we think New Agers qualifies as "many", I think the sentence should be changed to reflect that this is a widespread belief among certain groups, but certainly not in the general populace. --C S (Talk) 20:27, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Bubba73 (talk), 00:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Given that new agers are indeed a part in the general populace, and that there are in fact many new agers, i don't see why this is such a big issue. unless, of course, one finds it really important to marginalize certain beliefs' holdersby the use of labels. which, given that this article is a part of the Wikiproject "Rational Skepticism", is probably the case. iow, I do think new agers qualify as "many", and the general populace happens to be made up of many, many "certain groups." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Inhahe (talkcontribs) 07:37, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

"Paranormal" ?[edit]

See how people interpret the word 'paranormal': http://blog.bizzflip.com/bizzflipcom/2008/03/the-hundredth-m.html#comment-108558116

The guy says: "Stupid article. It gives no evidence for this finding. Scientists have no problem in believing in "Paranormal" activities like mind telepathy to other monkeys on islands. But prayer to God is "foolish". Scientists are hypocrites."
The dictionary says paranormal means not scientifically explainable.
This word needs to change to something more accurate.

61.11.19.196 (talk) 07:25, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


Discredited is a relative thing. Discredited by skeptics is different than discredited. The discreditor here fails to mention that there were multiple Islands, not just 2, and makes up BS about monkeys swimming; when the monkeys don't swim. Another awkward example of how far off the mark and disgustingly partisan wikipedia is; this article has stood for this long and nobodies discredited the discreditor. The hundredth monkey phenomenon has since been found to operate in many other situations, from lab rats to ant colonies.

Whats stupid is wikipedias gross bias as a skeptic. Modern science in fact understands the hundredth monkey principle as a systemic function of quantum information. This article is written entirely by stupid and ignorant morons, with the bias that anything "paranormal" has to be debunked. -Anonymous ex wikipedian —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.6.51.121 (talk) 16:07, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

As jefffire points out, the article on swimming says monkeys can swim. If there are published results confirming the Effect in lab rats and ant colonies -- or in quantum physics labs -- then maybe somebody should cite those publications specifically, so other people can verify that they exist and are not just part of a story somebody made up. Foogus (talk) 23:50, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
But Foogus, that would be so... scientific! We live in a world where people make a living in all kinds of black magic and pseudoscience, amd call them disciplines. Economics, sociology, weather forecasting, political science, most of psychology :p ... the list is long. Kkken (talk) 03:00, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
It is interesting to turn on the idea a bit and posit "a fifteenth skeptic effect," as so many times the apparent egocentricity of a "don't see it at all & never could," minority type thinker contributes to a sort of sub-group blindness caste popularized by somewhat iconoclastic persons exhibiting a somewhat abnormal sort/form of human denial, as that seen and agreed upon amongst the global warming deniers, for instance, who seek validation for their particular petty and sometimes rather obvious ignorance, or who like some "atheists," may be hiding behind a fallacious viewpoint to justify a rather Stalinist absence of charity .69.69.22.16 (talk) 20:58, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Your judgement on the "fifteenth skeptic effect" belongs more appropriately to the exponential growth discussion below.
On your skeptic; being a skeptic requires self-reflection as well as critisizing arguments of other parties, in abscence of which the person becomes a devil's advocate. Still, ignorance is sometimes disguised in a skeptics garments one must point out.
On subject; the so called effect doesn't seem to have any solid foundation and seems to be based on bent truth to support some New Age claims regarding "morphic fields", awakening of consciousness on a global scale, etc.
PS: My comment might look too innocent for veterans of such debates, but not giving an innocent answer would be denying the above comment, which I hope is not an act of trolling, but innocent itself. 88.233.161.171 (talk) 07:44, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Was merely being jocular in light of the presence and absence of skepticism and true belief in us all; skepticism in self-reflection is where one stops becoming a Taliban monkey shooter and starts becoming, say, a Democrat pacifist. Even Newton exhibited religious disbeliefs, as did Jefferson -- yet their non-skeptical contributions are what people mostly remember them for. All skepticism is to a degree, paranormal or abnormal, unless one is uncommonly negatively & skeptically biased: we normally seek out things that are growing and flourishing, it seems, not dying and/or killing even silly explanations. "The hundredth monkey," theory was taught as 'semi-plausible gospel' in University, years ago -- one must say it was rather disillusioning to see it may have its problems in fact. Still I may shudder the day when the Taliban has trained its one hundredth monkey shooter; oh my! 69.69.21.99 (talk) 17:24, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Exponential Growth[edit]

I am somewhat new to this theory, but it seems as if one factor is being over looked. If a certain behavior is POPULAR enough that any individual who is exposed to this new behavior is likely to pick it up, then an exponential growth cycle begins, a lot like those old posters about aids, if you sleep with one person, its like sleeping with 1000 or whatever. So, there comes a point where if 25% of the population exhibits the behavior, and intend to spread it to three others each, then thats it, man. Game over, new behavior wins. This doesn't explain any sort of subconscious intercontinental knowledge, but does explain why the new age kids like it so much. You dont have to convince everyone to fall in line with your way of thinking, just convince those who will thke up the banner and spread the idea, and the number required to reach critical mass, set this exponential chain in action, is surprisingly small. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 63.246.245.167 (talk) 18:21, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Blue tits learning to simultaneously peck milk bottle caps on both sides of the Atlantic, and sheep learning to roll over cattle grids in widely separated zones[edit]

The above phenomena, probably urban myths,m are also cited by people in pubs as proof that some sort of unknown communication at a distance occurs amongst animals. Should this stuff be incorporated in the article, and if available3 any de bunking evidence?

Not without a reliable source. Dicklyon (talk) 01:38, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Real Monkey Research in '60s[edit]

I had a professor at the University of Washington who did research on some type of monkeys (perhaps rhesus) I thought in the Caribbean. To identify the monkeys and get photos, the anthropologists placed food on the beach. One monkey washed food, and as the research progressed, more and more monkeys washed the sand off their food. I saw films of this from his work.

There were no other monkeys on other islands; these monkeys were put on the island for research purposes and were not native.

I do recall the name of the professor--Kirby Chandler [DeVore I, Lee R: Recent and Current Field Studies of Primates. Folia Primatol 1963;1:66-72 (DOI: 10.1159/000164880)].

And I do recall that when I first saw the book "The Hundredth Monkey" I thought it was speaking about a similar experience. However, in our class, we did not discuss collective consciousness, tipping points, or community intelligence; rather discussion of the film centered on monkeys totally changing their behavior based on a new situation. Seaseal (talk) 05:26, 16 July 2009 (UTC)seaseal Cecile Mills, B.A., Anthropology UW 1964

WTF??[edit]

This article and it's accompanying skepticism is just horrific. How can anybody call this trash balanced or neutral? This article is biased and it's more than clear some guy or organization here has a agenda to uphold. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.168.153.86 (talk) 02:53, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Indeed. This article needs to be rewritten from scratch. Both sides of the argument have to be present, but the writing has to be characterised by neutrality. Dogmatic sceptics, could you stay out of the way? —Roamer 11:36, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
That's right - both sides! Just like there should be both sides on whether or not gravity is generated by mass or tiny gravity faeries, or both sides should be represented on the question of the benefits of knives being stabbed into the eyes or not Jachra (talk) 04:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

In fiction[edit]

IIRC, this was an important plot point-or- presented as a possible theory for the chaos in the popular comic book series 'Y The Last Man'. Lots42 (talk) 14:55, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

"rational skepticism" this is not. irrational skepticism it is.

the hundredth monkey phenomenon has been multiply proven in hundreds of different experiments involving mice, rats, ants, and even humans.

the very fact that this is classed in with "skepticism" instead of as a known phenomenon itself proves the bias. Somebody started with a skeptics bias and moved forward to disprove what they don't understand.

Even their debunking is silly. these monkeys can't swim. DUH.

This is not an encylopedia article, its an atheist trolling hit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.171.191.51 (talk) 03:42, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

If anyone is interested, macaques can swim very well. And see [1]. Richigi (talk) 02:11, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Opening of milk bottles by birds[edit]

When I read this article, I was surprised not to find anything about UK birds who learned to open milk bottles within a very short time span throughout the whole country. This is standard evidence for the Hundredth Monkey Effect, and this is why it is taken more seriously than this article suggests. By a simple Google search, one finds more about this empirical finding, for example a scientific blog article here http://scienceblogs.com/laelaps/2007/12/04/the-milk-mystery-and-imitation/ and a journal publication here http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/037663579400051H. I definitely think that this story should be included in the article, and I think the article should be less opinionated about the Hundredth Monkey Effect. Just because an effect is possibly not explainable within current predominant scientific paradigms, it does not mean that the effect does not exist (as the authors seem to believe). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.43.167.252 (talk) 20:48, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Neither of those articles have anything to do with the Hundredth Monkey Effect. They have to do with ordinary imitation.
Nobody doubts that monkeys can learn from each other in the conventional way. APL (talk) 07:22, 17 April 2015 (UTC)


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