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Studies performed at the Kyoto Primate Research Institute have shown that chimpanzees outperform humans when it comes to certain tasks involving short term memory. Researchers paired chimpanzees in one game and humans in another and discovered that the chimps were steadily better at the competitive game than the humans.
According to Cnet, Chimps and humans played the Inspection Game, which is a computer game similar to hide-and-seek. In a pair of two against their own species, the humans and chimps sat with their backs against their partner’s at a computer. In order to activate the round they must select a circle on the screen, then they are to choose one of two boxes on the screen; afterwards they are shown the choice of their opponent. Some players had to guess the opposite choice of their opponent while others had to guess the exact choice of their opponent. There were 200 rounds with a prize for whoever won each round. In order to be good at the game, the player must be good at guessing the move of their opponent.
Researchers announced that the chimps did better every round in comparison to the humans. The chimps even nearly hit the limit of a theory known as “Nash Equilibrium," which is when there is a limit to how many times a game can be won based on the player’s strategic ability to anticipate their opponents next move.
The study results support previous studies, which have demonstrated that chimps have miraculous short-term memory. This along with their competitive nature and non-verbal communication is what contributes to their success. Humans, on the other hand, are more cooperative in nature and communicate more verbally than non-verbally, which may explain why they did not perform as well with this type of game, Discovery News noted.
The researchers are pleased with their results and claim that they give them a greater understanding of chimpanzee nature. Future experiments will involve activities that include cooperation to see if they are able to step up to the plate even when their human components are given an advantage.