Review: "Drunk Monkeys" (Author: Small, Meredith).

Essay by money21University, Bachelor'sA, November 2005

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The article entitled "What You Can Learn From Drunk Monkeys" by Meredith Small (2002:48-51) suggests that monkeys and humans may have a lot more in common than you might expect when it comes to alcohol and its addictive properties. For the last 15 years, a psychologist named Dee Higley has been raising rhesus monkeys in hopes to find possible causes for chronic alcohol abuse. These causes of alcoholism may be similar to those of humans. There has been a long-term debate weather alcoholism should be considered a disease, an illness, or product of society that can be changed. In order to answer this question we might be able to study the alcohol habits of the rhesus monkey and compare it to the etiology of human alcoholism.

The first section of the article summarizes that future alcoholism in humans and the rhesus monkey is not only caused by bad genes. Higley's research suggests that an unhappy childhood or social problems can also lead to alcoholism.

For example, the monkeys that were taken from their mothers at a younger age, and not aloud to interact with a parent figure, have to learn social lessons from peers. As a result of these poor social lessons these monkeys become unsocial (social zeros), and are more likely to turn to alcohol. To prove this Higley gave drinks to both groups of monkeys (mother-based and peer-group-based) to see what would happen. According to Higley "Those that grow up without parents around just enormous amounts of alcohol-about double what the mother reared monkeys do (49)." This experiment shows that the rhesus monkey will in fact turn to the bottle due to an unhappy childhood or social problem.

The second section of the article summarizes that there is a relationship between alcoholism and genetic deficiencies in the brain.