WASHINGTON — A new study finds that what “Planet of the Apes” fantasized long ago could be true — chimps are smarter than we are. It turns out that having complex reasoning skills doesn’t give humans the edge at simple tasks.
It was a complex study based on a simple game — using touch screens, the humans and chimps each played members of their own species in a matching game.
“Think of it as hide and seek. One person is trying to find what the other person is choosing,” says Colin Camerer, a professor of behavior economics at California Institute of Technology, who ran the study.
“The theory … was developed by John Nash, whose life was portrayed in ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ And so it’s called a Nash equilibrium,” Camerer says.
Nash’s game theory predicts how often the animals or people will choose left or right depending on how much of a reward they get for their choices.
“This is as close as any species has ever gotten to matching predictions of this theory,” Camerer says.