The prisoners’ dilemma with actual prisoners

by on July 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm in Education, Law | Permalink

This is from a new research paper by Menusch Khadjavi and Andreas Lange:

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….

The blog post and link to research is here, hat tip goes to @Noahpinion.

1 LemmusLemmus July 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Cute. But when you want to make statements about group differences, you need representative samples. (Yes, this argument applies to a lot of published research, mainly about sex differences.)

2 Claude Emer July 8, 2013 at 8:53 pm

The Stanford Prison Experiment comes to mind

3 Enrique July 8, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I’m not surprised by the result, since the code of the street is “snitches get stitches” … but like all such experiments, the results are most likely a function of the artificial lab setting in which they take place

4 Mal July 9, 2013 at 2:29 am

This was already explored far more dramatically in Batman: The Dark Knight

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