Friday, October 05, 2007

Annals of Game Theory: Rational chimpanzees

In contrast with humans in previous studies, the chimps tended to accept any offer [in the Ultimatum Game] and didn't get upset when they were offered a small amount of raisins or none at all.

Lead author Keith Jensen said the chimps behaved more rationally than people, because "it makes perfect economic sense to accept any nonzero offer and to offer the smallest amount possible while keeping the most for yourself." [Bold emphasis added]

From this story by Denise Gellene in LATimes.


  1. Site Owner said...

    It only makes economic sense, not actual sense. In a society in which 49%+ of people would offer more, offering more is a *better* strategy resulting in a 504/494 split in round one between the results for (offer 49% and refuse lower) vs (offer 1% and take any).
    In a real society, 'following rounds' enforce this as players switch to a 'use best strategy from last round' and 'penalise perceived selfishness with mirroring or refusal to trade' strategies. In short, economists are dangerously short term thinkers, and less evolved.