Group Games

[siiiiiighhh] Dirty dishes in the sink – AGAIN! When will someone clean that up!?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying – someone ELSE, I mean!

Stepping up is tough! Whether it’s housework, stopping bullies, or giving blood, no one wants to be the first. Why?

Rajesh Rao from the University of Washington and colleagues looked for answers in a game!

The rules? Five players to a game. Each got one dollar. They could either DONATE that dollar to a communal pot or KEEP it – anonymously. If enough donated, all players got TWO dollars. If not – they all got zip!. Each decision the players made was tied to a mathematical formula. Greedy – changes one variable. Generous? That changes another.

Participants played the game dozens of times, with previous rounds influencing their choices. Rao’s mathematical model predicted their decisions FOUR out of FIVE times!

These findings could improve artificial intelligence programs! And help social scientists better understand our motivations behind real-life volunteering.

So, my turn to clean the dishes! Unless it’s yours?