Journal article

Chimpanzee choice rates in competitive games match equilibrium game theory predictions

Christopher Flynn Martin, Rahul Bhui, Peter Bossaerts, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Colin Camerer



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 ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Ministry of Education, Sports Technology, and Culture (MEXT)

Awarded by JSPS-GCOE

Awarded by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research

Funding Acknowledgements

Funds were provided by The Ministry of Education, Sports Technology, and Culture (MEXT) No. 24000001, No. 20002001, JSPS-GCOE (A06, Biodiversity) (T. M.), JSPS grant-in-aid (C. M.), Tamagawa GCOE (C. C.), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (C. C., P. B.), and Caltech HSS and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (R. B.). Thanks to D. Biro for task design, to M. Tanaka for help in building the touch-panel setup, to I. Adachi, M. Hayashi, and M. Tomonaga for overseeing chimpanzee experiments, and to the Center for Human Evolution Modeling and Research and members of the Section on Language and Intelligence of Primate Research Institute for daily care of the chimpanzees.