In this experiment they put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the
room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the
ceiling. Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are
sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable.
Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the
other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up.
Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.
One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in
the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the
other monkeys are doing the obvious, but, undaunted, he immediately begins
to climb the ladder. All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him
silly. He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the
A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again
attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out
of him. This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he's not
on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the
other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he's attacking the
One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced, eight new monkeys are
now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water. None of
them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up
any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.