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College Professor Forces Students into Prisoner’s Dilemma

It is no longer online, but very recently, a webpage of the University of Maryland displayed a final exam for students. It offered extra credit—for free! There was no question over some arcane piece of information. A student could choose either 2 or 6 points of extra credit. But like the prisoner in the famous logical dilemma, the student faces a negative consequence if classmates are equally greedy.

Dr. Dylan Selterman, professor of psychology, is claiming credit for the question. And what were the results?

-via io9


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I agree. However, you have to convince at least 90% of the other students to think the same way. Might be doable, if you have time to discuss the issue before the test. If this extra credit showed up at the time of the test-taking, though, you're basically just hoping that everyone else is as smart as you. If you're in the top 90% of intelligent folks already, that means it's not particularly likely that you'll find enough people in the class that are as smart as you.
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I've seen several PoliSci and game theory professors play similar games with the class. I've had one that would offer to give everyone a perfect score on the final if everyone turned in a blank test, or would make the blank people take a harder version if one person didn't. He's yet to have a class actually pull that off. I've also had a professor that would demonstrate various games with $10-20 cash given to a student a couple students. Plus various experimental economics and psychology programs that would pay out cash based on performance in various market simulations, some of which were much more complicated variations on the prisoner's dilemma.
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