Prisoners and Their Dilemma
February 21, 2014 8:21 AM   Subscribe

What happens when you ask actual prisoners to test the "Prisoner's Dilemma"?
We report insights into the behavior of prisoners in dilemma situations that so famously carry their name. We compare female inmates and students in a simultaneous and a sequential Prisoner's Dilemma. In the simultaneous Prisoner's Dilemma, the cooperation rate among inmates exceeds the rate of cooperating students. Relative to the simultaneous dilemma, cooperation among first-movers in the sequential Prisoner's Dilemma increases for students, but not for inmates. Students and inmates behave identically as second movers. Hence, we find a similar and significant fraction of inmates and students to hold social preferences.
LA Times: Economists finally test prisoner's dilemma on prisoners

NPR: The 'Prisoner's Dilemma' Tests Women In And Out Of Jail

American Scientist: New Dilemmas For The Prisoner
The Prisoner’s Dilemma has been a subject of inquiry for more than 60 years, not just by game theorists but also by psychologists, economists, political scientists, and evolutionary biologists. Yet the game has not given up all its secrets. A startling discovery last year revealed a whole new class of strategies, including some bizarre ones. For example, over a long series of games one player can unilaterally dictate the other player’s score (within a certain range). Or a crafty player can control the ratio of the two scores. But not all the new strategies are so manipulative; some are “generous” rules that elicit cooperation and thereby excel in an evolutionary context.
naked capitalism: Elinor Ostrom on the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Which You Should Approach with a Hermeneutic of Suspicion)
One important application of PD is found in Garrett Hardin’s extremely influential “Tragedy of the Commons” (Science162, 1243-1248 (1968)):
(Hardin, though citing to game theory sources, does not use the term PD explicitly. However, the payoff matrix for cooperation vs. defection is the same, as is the outcome of the game.) QED, right? Not so fast.

It’s interesting to note that when social scientist got around to — quelle horreur — actually testing Prisoner’s Dilemma on real prisoners, PD (and by extension not only Tucker’s thesis, but Hardin’s “tragedy”) broke down:
posted by the man of twists and turns (2 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Heya, if the main paper here is paywalled, it doesn't really make sense to use have a link to it be the content above the fold. If the post would still be worthwhile reframed to put accessible content up front, maybe just do this over tomorrow along those lines? -- cortex

As far as I can tell there is no way to read the text the post refers to without buying it first - unless you already have a paid academic account.

Question: As (presumably) most Mefites cannot RTA, is this suitable for Mefi?
posted by Faintdreams at 8:29 AM on February 21, 2014

As most MeFites cant read the article, that makes it perfect for Mefi !
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 8:31 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

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