Existence and prevalence of economic behaviours among non-human primates

Special Issue

on Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

compiled and edited by Elsa Addessi, Thomas Boraud and Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde


Humans often deal with complex economies by means of limited cognitive resources. Studying how our bounded minds adapt to such complex economies leads scientists to look at non-human animals and especially at non-human primates, our closest relatives. This theme issue investigates whether the roots of human economic behaviour can be traced in non-human primates according to two lines of inquiry.

Firstly, by probing isolated decisional factors through experimental paradigms, such as intertemporal choice and probabilistic choice tasks; and secondly by analysing the non-human primate ability to perform complex economic behaviours, such as trading and cooperation, according to basic criteria for human economic behaviour. This theme issue will serve as an anchor for launching novel evolutionarily-oriented behavioural economics research programs within an interdisciplinary scientific community.