TOOL 1.1 – PRISONER DILEMMA

AIMS OF THE ACTIVITY
Through the game of prisoner’s dilemma (which is inspired by the theories of mathematician John Nash) you can work on the theme of cooperation, and on building strategies of negotiation processes. In fact, the game proves that cooperation is more effective than competition and puts participants in a paradoxical situation in which the only way to win is to win with others and adopt the strategy win-win.
DESCRIPTION / METHODOLOGY
Divide participants in two groups (the blues and yellows for example) and give each of them two cards (A and B for the blue group and X and Y for yellow group). Groups are placed in two separate rooms and is explained them (writing it clearly) that: “The aim of the game is to reach the highest score possible.”

Later it will explained that the score will emerge from the combination of the two cards that will be played by groups without knowledge of the game of others.

Below the diagram, there are four possible combinations that will be shown to the participants before you start the game. Bets will be repeated for 8 times. After the third and sixth spin, it is possible for groups to access a negotiation identifying two spokespeople, searching for an agreement to which card their group will play. Game driver, however, cannot guarantee that groups keep their word in this statement.

The diagram shows the play that double results and those who are elevated to the square (double hyphens stay as one hyphen: for example -3 becomes -9).

The misunderstanding that often prevents the ability to achieve the purpose of the game and at the same time is a good starting point for understanding and learning, is that the phrase “The aim of the game is to reach the highest score possible” is usually understood as “doing point more than other group”. For this reason, normally groups do not play solution AX that leads points to both because they do not take into account the strategy Win-Win and so often they ditch each other. In the debriefing, you can make them think of how this dynamic is often present in the working groups and in social dynamics.

SUGGESTED TIMING
1 hour or 1,5 hour
MATERIAL AND RESOURCES NEEDED
Results table

Scoring system

COMPETENCES DEVELOPED
Cooperation

Team work

Conflict mediation

Negotiation

RESULTS TABLE

Yellows Blue Progressive Progressive
Bet n° Choice Result Choice Result Yellow Blue
1
2
3 (doubled)
4
5
6 (squared)
7
8 (squared)

Negotiations can be made after 3rd and 6th bet.

SCORING SYSTEM

Choice Score
Yellow Blue Yellow Blue
X A +3 +3
Y A +6 -6
X B -6 +6
Y B -3 -3