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While it is well established that humans respond to inequity, it remains unclear the extent to which this behavior occurs in our nonhuman primate relatives. By comparing a variety of species, spanning from New World and Old World monkeys to great apes, scientists can begin to answer questions about how the response to inequity evolved, what the function of this response is, and why and how different contexts shape it. In particular, research across nonhuman primate species suggests that the response is quite variable across species, contexts and individuals. In this paper, we aim to review these differences in an attempt to identify and better understand the patterns that emerge from the existing data with the goal of developing directions for future research. To begin, we address the importance of considering socio-ecological factors in nonhuman primates in order to better understand and predict expected patterns of cooperation and aversion to inequity in different species, following which we provide a detailed analysis of the patterns uncovered by these comparisons. Ultimately, we use this synthesis to propose new ideas for research to better understand this response and, hence, the evolution of our own responses to inequity.


This article was originally published in the journal Social Justice Research. Copyright © 2012 Springer.

The post-peer-reviewed version is available here with the permission of the author.

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