“chimpanzees have a specialized capacity to adjust strategy choice during competition… This capacity makes their choices at least as strategic as human choices.”


“The choice frequencies of food-motivated chimpanzees match game theory predictions as closely as in any species and comparable learning setting ever observed, even when changes in rewards predict highly counterintuitive changes in behavioral choice frequencies. The chimpanzees’ choices, compared to the human choices, are closer to those predicted by equilibrium game theory.

Why do the chimpanzees so closely approximate game-theoretic equilibrium? One clue is that working memory of experienced chimpanzees is surprisingly good9. Chimpanzee choices may converge more rapidly to the game theory prediction because they remember patterns very well, and in some circumstances better than some humans do.

These results suggest that the reason the chimpanzees converge more sharply to mutually best-responding (i.e., are closer to NE) is because they adjust to opponent behavior and to changes in incentives more strongly.


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