Boysen herself was surprised that the chimps could not learn to maximize their gain. She said, “It was the first task in 20 years that I’d failed to teach a chimpanzee” (Fischman, 1993). Then she tried a simple variation. She buy anabolic steroids online replaced the gumdrops with plastic poker chips. Now the chimps had no trouble with the task. They pointed to the plate with fewer poker chips on it. This meant the plate with fewer gumdrops went to the other chimp, and the chimp that did the pointing got the larger number of gumdrops.
Before the poker chips were substituted for the gumdrops, the chimpanzees seemed to be at the mercy of their desire for food. “The chimps understood the rule,” Boysen says, “but they couldn’t act on it” because of some biological imperative to get more food. Moving into the symbolic realm, by using poker chips in place of the buy anabolic steroids online gumdrops, allowed them to transcend that biological imperative and use abstractions like “more” and “less” to maximize their gain.