Both chimpanzees and human children want to see bad players get punished, and they are also willing to pay to see this happen, according to an international team of researchers.
The findings of the research, which involved two experiments, have been published in Nature Human Behavior, reports phys.org.
In the first experiment, adult chimpanzees were shown chimps interacting with human researchers. There were two types of scenes that then played out — in some cases, the human was kind to the chimp and offered food, and in other scenarios, humans were mean to their chimps and did not offer any food.
Afterwards, another human entered the room and started to beat the researcher who interacted with the chimpanzee. Then both sets of humans — the mean ones and the kind ones — were moved to another room where the beating continued. The only way the test chimps could watch the scene is if they worked hard and pulled back a door.
Chimpanzees were found to be eager to pry the door open and watch the "bad", mean human get punished. Researchers came to this conclusion after they noticed that the chimps actually tried to open the door with great effort. Conversely, they did not even move toward the door to see the good human get beaten further.
The chimps apparently were not so keen on seeing kind people get punished, notes the PO report.
For the study with children, 72 kids aged between two and six were recruited for a similar experiment. This time, a show was performed for them where a puppet offers the kid a toy they like. In some cases, the toy was actually handed to the kids, and in other scenarios, the toys were offered but later withdrawn.
Just then, another puppet comes along and begins to beat the first puppet. The action was then moved behind a screen. If the child wanted to continue watching, they had to make "payments" in the form of stickers. The older children were willing to pay with stickers to watch the bad puppet, the one who offered the toy and then took it away, get beaten. They were, however, not willing to watch the good puppet undergo physical abuse.
Younger children were willing to watch the beating regardless of whether the puppet was good or not, showing that they did not really understand what was going on.
This could be seen as evidence of chimpanzees and humans having common ancestors before the family tree branched off, notes the report.