October 4th, 2010
by Mike T Nelson · Filed Under: motivation
Great Book: source: photo w droid phone of my copy
Myself and Chris Guillebeau author of “The Art of Non-Conformity”
Last night Jodie and I headed out to a see Chris speak. The trip should have been 30 minutes and turned into 1.5 hours as the GPS on my phone kept taking us to a different location. We double checked the address, pulled it up again, and were puzzled. It was later at night, so nobody around to ask for directions. We ended up pulling up a map with locations on it and found it. Finally!
We walked in and Chris was still taking questions about his recent book. I got to chat with him a bit and even get a signed copy! Whoo ha!
How Does This Help You?
Why am I telling you about my most recent brush with fame? The point is that just because everyone is doing something, you want to still question it and everything else. Keep reading and I will tell you how this applies in the gym too.
Monkeys To the Rescue
Who does not love a great experiment? This geek sure does. This one is a great one with a powerful lesson. The following is from wikianswers. Yeah I know I am cited them as a source, but the actual study is at the end and even if it is not 100% true, it is close enough for this lesson.
The Experiment- Part 1
5 monkeys are locked in a cage, a banana was hung from the ceiling and a ladder was placed right underneath it.
As predicted, immediately, one of the monkeys would race towards the ladder, to grab the banana. However, as soon as he would start to climb, the researcher would spray the monkey with ice-cold water.
but here’s the kicker- In addition, he would also spray the other four monkeys…
When a second monkey tried to climb the ladder, the researcher would, again, spray the monkey with ice-cold water, As well as the other four watching monkeys;
This was repeated again and again until they learned their lesson:\
Climbing equals scary cold water for EVERYONE so No One Climbs the ladder.
The Experiment- Part 2
Once the 5 monkeys knew the drill, the researcher replaced one of the monkeys with a new inexperienced one. As predicted, the new monkey spots the banana, and goes for the ladder. BUT, the other four monkeys, knowing the drill, jumped on the new monkey and beat him up. The beat up new guy thus Learns- NO going for the ladder and No Banana Period- without even knowing why! and also without ever being sprayed with water!
These actions get repeated with 3 more times, with a new monkey each time and ASTONISHINGLY each new monkey- who had never received the cold-water Spray himself (and didn’t even know anything about it), would Join the beating up of the New guy.
This is a classic example of Mob Mentality- bystanders and outsiders uninvolved with the fight- join in…Just Because.
When the researcher replaced a third monkey, the same thing happened; likewise for the fourth until, eventually, all the monkeys had been replaced and none of the original ones are left in the cage (that had been sprayed by water).
The Experiment- Part 3
Again, a new monkey was introduced into the cage. It ran toward the ladder only to get beaten up by the others. The monkey turns with a curious face asking “why do you beat me up when I try to get the banana?”
The other four monkeys stopped and looked at each other puzzled (None of them had been sprayed and so they really had no clue why the new guy can’t get the banana) but it didn’t matter, it was too late, the rules had been set. And So, although they didn’t know WHY, they beat up the monkey just because ” that’s the way we do things around here”…
Chris tells this story in his book about the great monkey experiment.
Just because this is how we used to do it, is not a good reason.
Take the risk, scale the ladder, grab the bananas.
What goals are you going to achieve this week?
What is stopping you from starting?
Get out there and go for the bananas.
It’s go time! Start testing things in the gym Not sure which exercise to do? Test it! Don’t know how to do testing? Find out for FREE HERE.
What do you think? Let me know by placing a comment below!
Mike T Nelson
I highly encourage everyone to pick up Chris’ book. I have not finished it yet, but so far I have loved his blog. Plus if you get it when he is in your city, the proceeds go to a great charity for clean water in Africa. Go to his blog today at http://chrisguillebeau.com/
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“Stephenson (1967) trained adult male and female rhesus monkeys to avoid manipulating an object and then placed individual naïve animals in a cage with a trained individual of the same age and sex and the object in question. In one case, a trained male actually pulled his naïve partner away from the previously punished manipulandum during their period of interaction, whereas the other two trained males exhibited what were described as “threat facial expressions while in a fear posture” when a naïve animal approached the manipulandum. When placed alone in the cage with the novel object, naïve males that had been paired with trained males showed greatly reduced manipulation of the training object in comparison with controls. Unfortunately, training and testing were not carried out using a discrimination procedure so the nature of the transmitted information cannot be determined, but the data are of considerable interest.”
Stephenson, G. R. (1967). Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys. In: Starek, D., Schneider, R., and Kuhn, H. J. (eds.), Progress in Primatology, Stuttgart: Fischer, pp. 279-288.
mentioned in: Galef, B. G., Jr. (1976). Social Transmission of Acquired Behavior: A Discussion of Tradition and Social Learning in Vertebrates. In: Rosenblatt, J.S., Hinde, R.A., Shaw, E. and Beer, C. (eds.), Advances in the study of behavior, Vol. 6, New York: Academic Press, pp. 87-88: