Over the past few years, the psychologist Laurie Santos has examined the roots of human irrationality by studying the way our primate relatives make decisions. Her experiments in “monkeynomics” have shown that monkeys make some of the same silly financial choices as humans do. But her work has also revealed ways in which human choices are uniquely irrational – with monkeys sometimes making smarter choices than we do.
Laurie Santos is a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University. Her research explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of humans and non-human animals, including primates and canines. She is the Director of the Comparative Cognition Lab at Yale. She has been a featured TED speaker and has been listed in Popular Science as one of their “Brilliant 10” young minds in 2007.