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Putting Chimpanzee Cooperation in Context

Putting Chimpanzee Cooperation in Context

(p.346) 15 Putting Chimpanzee Cooperation in Context
Chimpanzees in Context
Gillian L. ValeSarah F. Brosnan
University of Chicago Press

Cooperation plays a fundamental role in the success of our species. Although other species also cooperate, they do not reach the same degree of complexity or achieve the same levels of coordinated action as humans do. Why cooperation evolved to varying extents in different species remains one of the big questions for science. One way in which we can study this is to focus upon the phylogeny of cooperation and the mechanisms that underpin it. This chapter focuses on the degree to which nonhuman primates (hereafter primates) are similar or dissimilar in their tendency to cooperate, especially as compared to chimpanzees. This chapter outlines the findings from a large-scale comparative project that has compared primates using carefully standardized tasks adapted from experimental economics. The results suggest that in some cases, primates find the Nash Equilibria on these tasks. Nonetheless, decisions also differ in important ways, from each other’s and from humans’, and these differences are informative for understanding the evolution of these decision patterns. This chapter concludes by considering what the results mean for our understanding of chimpanzee behavior and cognition.

Keywords:   anti-coordination, assurance game, cooperation, coordination, decision making, experimental economics, hawk-dove game

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