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 non-executive monkeys.

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.