From the 1958 psychology experiments by J. V. Brady in which
two monkeys were subjected to electrical shock.
One monkey could press a lever in response to a light coming on,
and so postpone the shock. The other had no recourse but to
passively absorb the shock.
The decision-making ("executive") monkey developed ulcers,
leading to the conclusion that the ulcers were caused by the
stress of making decisions.
The experiment has subsequently been criticized due to the
manner in which the monkeys were assigned; other researchers
controlled for the monkeys' ability to learn the task and found that
executive monkeys actually developed less severe ulcers than
Moving beyond the simple psychological research facts, however,
the original conclusion lives on: if you get laid off, pity your poor
boss, since you simply have to find a new job, while he has to
live with the stress of continual ski vac######decision making.
The non-executive monkey probably learned helplessness.
This experiment or one like it was the subject of a song by Peter Gabriel.