blog, by cristina lanz azcarate
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Strange application of game theory

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” Prisoners were more cooperative than students.” The article says about a strange application of game theory

Scrapbook‘s insight:

I find these results hardly surprising… If you are in a situation with no way out, clearly your priorities are different. (Rule 1 for experimenting is to remember that the environment is likely to affect the results) Those incarcerated (as in the example) are going nowhere and it would therefore seem natural to build on popularity and likeability to strengthen their current position, even from the point of view of a criminal. Would it not? To me, what is surprising is to use cigarettes in order to test the “prisoners dilemma” within a prison, where the value is clearly different to the outside world. (Another golden rule, is that in order to compare you need equivalent comparables) One can only imagine that as the price increases in relevance, (i.e. value) freedom being the ultimate price, other factors may arise… In fact, time is also a factor to take into consideration. I.e One is likely to be more “selfish” if the price is high and the risk to be reminded of one’s selfishness is low. (This is a cultural fact that we cannot shy away from) Finally, I do also think that the fact that the prison had female inmates may also have affected the outcome as studies show that female are more interested in achieving the “right outcome” than the one that benefit them most individually. Essentially, I wonder what the experiment sought out to proof…

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