CZAAWE Resource Article

Chimpanzees are more skilful in competitive than in cooperative cognitive tasks
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Animal Behaviour
In a series of four experiments, chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, were given two cognitive tasks, an object choice task and a discrimination task (based on location), each in the context of either cooperation or competition. In both tasks chimpanzees performed more skilfully when competing than when cooperating, with some evidence that competition with conspecifics was especially facilitatory in the discrimination location task. This is the first study to demonstrate a facilitative cognitive effect for competition in a single experimental paradigm. We suggest that chimpanzee cognitive evolution is best understood in its socioecological context.