Cuestionarse lo establecido Previous item THE CHAINED ELEPHANT


On one occasion the following behavioural experiment was carried out. 6 monkeys were placed in a cage, in the centre of which was a ladder that allowed them to reach a bunch of bananas hanging from the ceiling. As soon as one of the monkeys tried to reach the bananas, they were all sprayed with ice water which made him give up his attempt. This process was repeated as many times as the monkeys tried to reach the bananas. Finally, when one of the monkeys tried to reach the bananas, it was his own companions who prevented him from approaching the stairs by hitting them until the monkey gave up his attempt. At this point, one of the monkeys was taken out of the cage and another one, which obviously had not previously participated in the experiment, was introduced. Shortly after entering the cage, the monkey tries to climb up the ladder to get the bananas, but as soon as he approaches the ladder, his companions beat him up at the possibility of an icy shower. The new monkey does not understand anything, but after several attempts he realizes that he cannot get near the bananas unless he wants to be beaten.

Experimento Monos

At this point, another of the monkeys that started the experiment is taken out of the cage and one that also has no knowledge of how the experiment works is introduced. As in the previous case, the monkey tries to grab the bananas and every time he tries, all his cage mates jump on him to prevent him from doing so. The curious note is that the monkey that we introduced halfway through the experiment and that does not have the experience of having been sprayed with ice water also participates in the aggression although he does not know why. For him, it is simply not allowed to go near the stairs.

Little by little, all the monkeys that started the experiment are being replaced by others that have never experienced being sprayed with ice water.

When the last monkey in the cage is replaced, the behaviour of the apes remains the same, as soon as the new monkey tries to approach the stairs he is beaten by his companions, although at this point, nobody knows why, as none of them have been sprayed with ice water.

A rule has been established:

“It is forbidden to climb the ladder and anyone who tries to do so is exposed to repression by the rest of the group.”

To illustrate the need to ask why things happen, to question what is established, to know one’s beliefs and to challenge them regularly. We do many things without knowing why, they have simply been done this way, because “that’s the way things are”. As social beings, we share a vision of the world beyond our own particular mentality. We inherit prejudices, systems and traditions from our ancestors; we imitate them almost always without questioning their reason.

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