Chimpanzee choice rates in competitive games match equilibrium game theory predictions.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Martin, Christopher Flynn; Bhui, Rahul; Bossaerts, Peter; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro; Camerer, Colin
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Sci Rep
Volume: 4
Pagination: 5182
Date Published: 2014
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2045-2322
Keywords: Animals, Choice Behavior, Competitive Behavior, Cooperative Behavior, Decision making, Female, game theory, Humans, Models, Psychological, Pan troglodytes, Social Behavior

The capacity for strategic thinking about the payoff-relevant actions of conspecifics is not well understood across species. We use game theory to make predictions about choices and temporal dynamics in three abstract competitive situations with chimpanzee participants. Frequencies of chimpanzee choices are extremely close to equilibrium (accurate-guessing) predictions, and shift as payoffs change, just as equilibrium theory predicts. The chimpanzee choices are also closer to the equilibrium prediction, and more responsive to past history and payoff changes, than two samples of human choices from experiments in which humans were also initially uninformed about opponent payoffs and could not communicate verbally. The results are consistent with a tentative interpretation of game theory as explaining evolved behavior, with the additional hypothesis that chimpanzees may retain or practice a specialized capacity to adjust strategy choice during competition to perform at least as well as, or better than, humans have.

DOI: 10.1038/srep05182
Alternate Journal: Sci Rep