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Chimps trump humans in matching game, study finds (Video)

Thursday - 6/12/2014, 4:29am  ET

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.

See a video of the chimps playing the game:

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