Complex cognitive reasoning skills don't always win out in the game of life, or in basic strategy games like the Inspection Game, the computer game chimpanzees recently outperformed their competitors in during a Caltech study.
The Inspection Game is really just a simple digital version of hide-and-go-seek. Two players (in this case, either a pair of chimps or a pair of humans) sit back to back, each facing their own computer screen. The game begins with each competitor pushing a circle on the screen and then selecting one of two blue boxes on the either side (right or left) of the screen.
After both players have chosen left or right, the computer shows each player her opponent's choice. One player is designated the seeker, the other the hider, with the seeker trying to predict their opponent's next move and the hider trying to outthink the seeker. The game goes on like this for 200 turns. Players are incentivized by rewards for successfully hiding or seeking -- humans get coins, chimps get apples.
Inspection Game is inspired by game theory, which suggests that in ideal competition, players should maximize their likelihood of success by anticipating their opponent's move.