Student Work

  • Data Visualization (MS)

    Michal Bacon

    Escaping Social Dilemmas

    In game theory, social dilemmas are situations in which the interests of the individual stand in direct opposition to the interests of the many. Game theory has demonstrated that in these scenarios, the most rational choice for the individual is to act selfishly rather than for the collective good. However, when these social dilemmas are played out repeatedly, cooperative behavior can emerge as the more advantageous choice. This project explores three social dilemmas - the most famous being the Prisoner's Dilemma - and ten strategies for playing these games repeatedly. We demonstrate how certain strategies, ranging from benevolent cooperation to unscrupulous defection, can be more successful than others depending on the social dilemma to which they are applied. We aim to discover whether certain strategies can elicit cooperation from peers, creating a more trusting and ultimately more successful society. View the interactive project here: