Human and macaque pairs employ different coordination strategies in a transparent decision game

  1. Sebastian Moeller
  2. Anton M Unakafov
  3. Julia Fischer
  4. Alexander Gail
  5. Stefan Treue
  6. Igor Kagan  Is a corresponding author
  1. German Primate Center, Germany
  2. University of Göttingen, Germany

Abstract

Many real-world decisions in social contexts are made while observing a partner's actions. To study dynamic interactions during such decisions, we developed a setup where two agents seated face-to-face engage in game-theoretical tasks on a shared transparent touchscreen display ('transparent games'). We compared human and macaque pairs in a transparent version of the coordination game 'Bach-or-Stravinsky', which entails a conflict about which of two individually-preferred opposing options to choose to achieve coordination. Most human pairs developed coordinated behavior and adopted dynamic turn-taking to equalize the payoffs. All macaque pairs converged on simpler, static coordination. Remarkably, two animals learned to coordinate dynamically after training with a human confederate. This pair selected the faster agent's preferred option, exhibiting turn-taking behavior that was captured by modeling the visibility of the partner's action before one's own movement. Such competitive turn-taking was unlike the prosocial turn-taking in humans, who equally often initiated switches to and from their preferred option. Thus, the dynamic coordination is not restricted to humans, but can occur on the background of different social attitudes and cognitive capacities in rhesus monkeys. Overall, our results illustrate how action visibility promotes emergence and maintenance of coordination when agents can observe and time their mutual actions.

Data availability

The datasets used in the current study and the links to the public GitHub code repositories are uploaded to a public Open Science Framework data repository (https://osf.io/f5u8z/).

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Sebastian Moeller

    Cognitive Neurosciences Laboratory, German Primate Center, Goettingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0381-6449
  2. Anton M Unakafov

    Cognitive Neurosciences Laboratory, German Primate Center, Goettingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Julia Fischer

    Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-5807-0074
  4. Alexander Gail

    Sensorimotor Group, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1165-4646
  5. Stefan Treue

    Georg-Elias-Müller-Institute of Psychology, University of Göttingen, Goettingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Igor Kagan

    Cognitive Neurosciences Laboratory, German Primate Center, Goettingen, Germany
    For correspondence
    ikagan@dpz.eu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1814-4200

Funding

Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Niedersächsisches Vorab)

  • Julia Fischer
  • Alexander Gail
  • Stefan Treue
  • Igor Kagan

Leibniz ScienceCampus Primate Cognition

  • Julia Fischer
  • Alexander Gail
  • Stefan Treue
  • Igor Kagan

Leibniz Collaborative Excellence grant Neurophysiological mechanisms of primate interactions in dynamic sensorimotor settings"" (K265/2019)

  • Alexander Gail
  • Stefan Treue
  • Igor Kagan

SFB 1528 Cognition of Interaction (project Z01)

  • Alexander Gail
  • Igor Kagan

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (open access funding)

  • Anton M Unakafov

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: Research with nonhuman primates represents a small but indispensable component of neuroscience research. The scientists in this study are committed to the responsibility they have in ensuring the best possible science with the least possible harm to the animals (Roelfsema and Treue, 2014). The experimental procedures were approved by the responsible regional government office (Niedersaechsisches Landesamt fuer Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (LAVES), permits 3392-42502-04-13/1100 and 3319-42502-04-18/2823), and were conducted in accordance with the European Directive 2010/63/EU, the corresponding German law governing animal welfare, and German Primate Center institutional guidelines.

Human subjects: Experiments were performed in accordance with institutional guidelines for experiments with humans and adhered to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. The experimental protocol was approved by the ethics committee of the Georg-Elias-Mueller-Institute for Psychology, University of Goettingen (GEMI 17-06-06 171).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Erin L Rich, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 5, 2022
  2. Accepted: December 28, 2022
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 12, 2023 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2023, Moeller et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Sebastian Moeller
  2. Anton M Unakafov
  3. Julia Fischer
  4. Alexander Gail
  5. Stefan Treue
  6. Igor Kagan
(2023)
Human and macaque pairs employ different coordination strategies in a transparent decision game
eLife 12:e81641.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.81641
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