Online porn and celebrity photos — in our DNA?

According to a recent Duke University study soon to be published in Current Biology:

A new study found that male monkeys will give up their juice rewards in order to ogle pictures of female monkey’s bottoms. The way the experiment was set up, the act is akin to paying for the images, the researchers say.

Sort of the monkey version of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

I’m sure you’re wondering what the tie-in is with online networking, right? Well, get this… in another part of the experiment, researchers found:

The rhesus macaque monkeys also splurged on photos of top-dog counterparts, the high-ranking primates. Maybe that’s like you or me buying People magazine.

Curiously, the monkeys in the test hadn’t had any direct physical contact with the monkeys in the photos, so they didn’t have personal experience with who was hot and who was not.”

Let’s think about the impact of that for a minute… they had no direct physical contact. That means that the leaders were recognizable as leaders by their photos!

Not only were the monkeys willing to pay to look at the “celebrity” photos, “The scientists actually had to pay these guys, in the form of extra juice, to get them to look at images of lower-ranking monkeys.”

As human beings, the things that attract us and motivate us are perhaps slightly more advanced than these monkeys. Nonetheless, I think this study speaks volumes about the power of a photograph. Do people, like monkeys, perceive other people as leaders on the power of their photo? Again, it’s certainly more complex than that, but surely it must play a part.

Looks like it’s time for me to get a new head shot… 😉