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# Actual Prisoners are put to the "Prisoner's Dilemma"

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posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 11:49 AM
First off what is the Prisoner's Dilemma
is a canonical example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.

They Finally Tested The 'Prisoner's Dilemma' On Actual Prisoners — And The Results Were Not What You Would Expect

The basic version goes like this: Two criminals are arrested, but police can't convict either on the primary charge, so they plan to sentence them to a year in jail on a lesser charge. Each of the prisoners, who can't communicate with each other, are given the option of testifying against their partner. If they testify, and their partner remains silent, the partner gets three years and they go free. If they both testify, both get two. If both remain silent, they each get one.

In game theory, betraying your partner, or "defecting" is always the dominant strategy as it always has a slightly higher payoff in a simultaneous game. It's what's known as a "Nash Equilibrium," after Nobel Prize winning mathematician and "A Beautiful Mind" subject John Nash.

Interesting study but privacy in prison is nonexistent. What does it say about the prisoner who suddenly shows up with a few extra boxes of cigs and coffee? Snitch! So it would seem the real prisoners are playing a different game. If they value not being seen with goods, this would lower the utility of receiving goods. This means that the game they think they're playing is different than the game the researchers attribute them as playing.

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:01 AM

This sounds more like a case of poor research where confounding variables are not taken into consideration. The severe stigma on "snitching" was not accounted for as far as I can tell, as they do not say how they countered it. That means any results are tainted.

ETA: Make it anonymous, and give the "rewards" to family members outside where other inmates could never track what happened and a different result might present itself.
edit on 27-7-2013 by OccamsRazor04 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:05 AM

In prison, it's kill or be killed and everyone knows it. Cooperation is a must, you cannot retreat to the privacy of your own home, to a new circle of friends, or to a different job to escape people whom you have annoyed or angered, therefore you must get along as best as you can. I would expect the results given by this study, based on that. I would expect similar results in a larger scale study as well.

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:41 AM

In prison, it's kill or be killed and everyone knows it.

There's not one UK prison where jail-time is that dramatic. If all US prisons are that bad(which I seriously doubt), you need to do some reconfiguring of your system.

With regards to the OP, if the criminals in question had already survived a stint in jail, doing a year rather than being suspected as a snitch for life, is always the best option. It's no good being free if the people on the outside hate you.

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:46 AM

Originally posted by IvanAstikov

In prison, it's kill or be killed and everyone knows it.

There's not one UK prison where jail-time is that dramatic. If all US prisons are that bad(which I seriously doubt), you need to do some reconfiguring of your system.

With regards to the OP, if the criminals in question had already survived a stint in jail, doing a year rather than being suspected as a snitch for life, is always the best option. It's no good being free if the people on the outside hate you.

That is exactly what I was alluding to. The Prisoner's Dilemna does not take into consideration outside influences. The experiment I outlined would be much more valid than this one.

posted on Aug, 2 2013 @ 04:20 PM
cooperate

The above discusses the prisoners dilemma. To me its obvious we have to cooperate (Im married) and cant understand anyone believing selfish is better?

It kind of ties in with freedoms I feel. Its good to have freedom as this helps us fulfill our potential but we are limited by our resources.

posted on Aug, 6 2013 @ 05:11 AM

Marriage doesn't have the same dynamics, which is why it's the Prisoner's Dilemna not the Husband's.

If you are married and you both are being interrogated, if either of you go to prison you both lose, so cooperation is encouraged.

If you are partners in crime, and are both caught, and you have a wife and 3 children at home, and are given a chance to take a lesser charge with little to no time if you turn on your partner. He's being offered the same deal, so whoever signs the dotted line first gets the deal. Whoever doesn't take the deal is looking at 10-20 years.

What do you do?
edit on 6-8-2013 by OccamsRazor04 because: (no reason given)

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