The shift to competition in the prisoner's dilemma game

Ayala M. Pines1
1Ben-Gurion University
Cite this article:  Pines, A. (1976). The shift to competition in the prisoner's dilemma game. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 4, 177-186.

Volume 4 Issue 2 | e130 | Published: August 1976 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1976.4.2.177

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The relative power of cooperative and trusting patterns of behavior versus those of exploitation and distrust in affecting the results of group decision-making processes was investigated. The outcome of a study using the Prisoner’s Dilemma Game seems to suggest the disproportionate influence of competitive people in these settings. When groups consisting of cooperative and competitive players were asked to reach a unanimous decision about game strategy, in the majority of cases their decision was not to cooperate. This is a rather disturbing finding in light of the prevalence and importance of group decisions in everyday life. Three additional studies were carried out in an attempt to explore some alternative explanations of this shift to competition. The combined outcome of the 3 studies suggests that the shift to competition is reflecting both a group effect and a player effect.
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