How The Hundredth Monkey Effect Really Works
by Helen Elizabeth Williams
Posted October 30, 2020
In 1981, author Ken Keyes popularized a concept which had been introduced a little earlier by biologist Lyall Watson. The “Hundredth Monkey” effect postulated that, when enough monkeys – or people – catch on to a better way of doing things, then the idea suddenly spreads into the awareness of many others.
The most remarkable aspect of this concept is that no physical contact or proximity is required for a new idea to travel from one group of people to another.
The story began when Japanese primatologists, who were studying Macaque monkeys in the wild in the 1950s, stumbled upon a surprising phenomenon.
On the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. More…