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The Prisoner's Dilemma

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 12:18 PM

tic tac toe tic tac toe (cigno5!/flickr)

In our episode The Good Show, we wrestle with the question of whether natural selection inherently favors selfish behavior. Is the process of evolutionary competion cruel, or does it sometimes pay to be nice?

One way to approach this question is to consider a scenario known as the prisoner's dilemma--a problem in game theory that illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of cooperation. In the final section of The Good Show, Jad and Robert take a stab at the prisoner's dilemma, and ask whether there are circumstances in which even selfish people are inclined to work together. Listen to "One Good Deed Deserves Another" here. And if you want to test your own strategic mettle, we ran across an online version of the prisoner's dilemma.

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Comments [7]

Dorothy from Denton, TX

This link works.. http://www.radiolab.org/2010/dec/14/one-good-deed-deserves-another/

Jul. 27 2013 11:14 AM
dickgoesinya

Wow what a lousy site wanted to share thie content with my kids but was unable. Withdrew my donation. You need to make EXCELLENT content like this transferrable across te net.

Shame on the web masters/hosters for not making content availible to all.

I have a 1000$ DONATION READY fOR WHEN IT HAPPENS EMAIL ME

Jul. 14 2013 07:42 PM
Nate Diplock

ooooooooooooooooooo I love this page soooooo much! ;) tee heheheheh

Mar. 28 2013 12:51 PM
Sam Hird from Amherst MA

Mr O'connor is the best :)

Mar. 28 2013 12:27 PM
Jim from Brooklyn

The energy "prisoner's dilemma".
All Nations need to decrease energy use. Going first (cooperating) is an economic disadvantage. Increasing energy use (defecting) gives you a short term economic advantage. How will cooperation become the equilibrium?

Mar. 17 2011 06:46 PM
andy from Finland

The link seems to be broken... :/

Jan. 15 2011 06:34 AM
Danielle from Colorado

It seemed like most of the situations presented are situations in which people are equal, or on the same playing field so to speak. What about when there is inequality between people, how then does selfishness benefit? Or where there is not enough to go around, how does evolutionary competition play a role? If there is no niceness to begin with, why should it ever evolve?

Dec. 28 2010 12:23 PM

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