Monkey (Porn) Business keeps up with the Kardashians

The content of this post may not be a central tenet of Positive Psychology, but I find the following fact immensely interesting – so I will share it with you anyway. And by the way, I read about it the book How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom – who will also teach in the MAPP program.

Have you ever wondered why people (…and it is not sexist to say: mostly women…) like to read or watch those preposterous celebrity gossip magazines? The answer: for the same reason that people (…and it is not sexist to say: mostly men…) like to watch those preposterous porn flics: It is (or at least can be) fun. And why it is fun? Because we may be evolutionary hard-wired to like it.

Rhesus Macaques

By Thomas Schoch (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

In a study which goes by the beautiful name of Monkeys pay per view: adaptive valuation of social images by rhesus macaques, researchers found that our animal relatives are willing to trade tasty food for the opportunity to look at pictures displaying tasty backsides of their fellows. Nothing new here – it´s monkey porn. But: they were also willing to pay for pictures showing the faces of high-ranking members of their pack. Which is kind of the same thing as humans looking at pictures of Kate Middleton or Kim Kardashian, depending on personal preferences.

So, dear fellow Man: if She ever complains about your porn consumption, this study might be your trump card: You´ll stop if she shreds her Cosmopolitans… 🙂