Here’s a story about a research study that was done with monkeys.
Four monkeys were put into an observation room with one banana on the floor.The monkeys were wired so that the researchers could give each monkey a mild shock. When the first monkey approached the banana and tried to pick it up, he received a mild shock.
When the second monkey approached the banana, the first monkey became very agitated and attempted to stop the second monkey from touching the banana. Any monkey who touched the banana received a mild shock. Suffice it to say that the monkeys learned very quickly that touching the banana was an unpleasant experience.
Now for the most interesting part of the story. One of the four original monkeys was then replaced with a new monkey. As this new monkey approached the banana, the other three became extremely agitated, and succeeded in stopping the new monkey from touching the banana. A short while later, one of the remaining three original monkeys was replaced with a new monkey.
As this new monkey approached the banana, the other three monkeys, including the one who had just replaced the first monkey, became extremely agitated and stopped the new monkey from touching the banana. This replacement process continued until all of the original four monkeys had been replaced with new monkeys.
None of these new monkeys would touch the banana, and whenever a new monkey came into the observation room, he was quickly taught not to touch the banana. In effect, none of the remaining monkeys understood what would happen if they touched the banana — they just knew that they should never touch it. These monkeys were living in a culture that forbade touching the banana.
These monkeys were immersed in this culture, like fish in an ocean, and were completely unaware of the reasons for their behaviour. They simply did what the culture dictated.