Like chimpanzees<em> (Pan troglodytes</em>), pigeons (<em>C</em><em>olumba livia domestica</em>) match and Nash equilibrate where humans (<em>H</em><em>omo sapiens</em>) do not.

Martin, Bhui, Bossaerts, Matsuzawa, and Camerer (2014) found that chimpanzee pairs competing in matching-pennies games achieved the Nash equilibrium whereas human pairs did not. They hypothesized this outcome may be due to (a) chimpanzee ecology producing evolutionary changes that give them a cognitive advantage over humans in these games, and (b) humans being disadvantaged because the cognition necessary for optimal game play was traded off in evolution to support language. We provide data relevant to their hypotheses by exposing pairs of pigeons to the same games. Pigeons also achieved the Nash equilibrium, but did so while also conforming with the matching law prediction on concurrent schedules where choice ratios covary with reinforcer ratios. The cumulative effects model, which produces matching on concurrent schedules, also achieved the Nash equilibrium when it was simulated on matching-pennies games. The empirical and simulated compatibility between matching law and Nash equilibrium predictions can be explained in two ways. Choice to concurrent schedules, where matching obtains, and choice in game play, where the Nash equilibrium is achieved, may reflect the operation of a common process in choice (e.g., reinforcer maximization) for which matching and achieving the Nash equilibrium are derivative. Alternatively, if matching in choice is innate as some accounts argue, then achieving the Nash equilibrium may be an epiphenomenon of matching. Regardless, the wide species generality of matching relations in nonhuman choice suggests game play in chimpanzees would not prove advantaged relative to most species in the animal kingdom. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)