Authors: S. S. Komorita, James Sweeney, and David A. Kravitz

Title: Cooperative choice in the N-person dilemma situation.

Source: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 504-516. 1980.

The N-person Prisonerís Dilemma Game (N ≥ 3), like the two-person game, represents a situation in which an individual is faced with the conflict between maximizing personal gain and maximizing collective gain. The N-person case is a more general prototype of this conflict of motives than is the two-person case and simulates many real-life problems such as energy conservation, environmental pollution, and overpopulation. Three experiments were conducted to evaluate a model and an index of cooperative choice in N-person dilemma situations. These experiments compared two different experimental procedures (multiple trials with and without feedback) and varied several parameters of the index: group size, slopes of the payoff functions for persons who cooperate or compete, and the intercept difference between these two functions. The results suggest two serious problems with the model: (a) The model is based on an index of cooperative choice and the index may be restricted to a situation in which the slopes of the payoff functions are equal, and (b) significant changes in cooperation were found in the study, and since it is a static model, it cannot account for such changes over trials.

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