Are Chimpanzees Better Strategists than Humans?
According to a new study, chimpanzees are at least as good at (if not better) than humans at adjusting strategy choices during competition.
What's the Latest?
Scientists studying the capacity for strategic thinking among non-human species have found chimpanzees comparable (if not superior) to their human cousins in the realm of decision-making. Faced with a set of abstract competitive situations, the tested chimpanzees exhibited a proficiency for altering their decisions in reaction to failure that bested that of humans tasked with the same goals. Researchers hypothesize 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."
What's the Big Idea?
The study, held at Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute, consisted of chimpanzees playing a so-called matcher-mismatcher game (video here). Teams of humans, forbidden from speaking, also played the game. In order to encourage playing the game, chimps were rewarded with apples. The humans were rewarded with money (sounds like the chimps got the raw deal). The basic results: the chimps clobbered the humans and performed up to the Nash equilibrium. Chimpanzees are widely regarded to possess superior short-term memories, excellent pattern-recognition skills, and exhibit more heightened competitive tendencies than their human counterparts.
Before anyone gets any crazy ideas and decides to hire a chimp to run a Navy or something, do note that the researchers identify that humans still reign supreme in "games requiring coordination and cooperation, where language is particularly useful."
Take that, chimps.
Photo Credit: Everett Collection/Shutterstock
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap
- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.