NOTE: In this activity, you will exchange benefits, represented by colored or similar items, with your classmates. In this simulation, a cheater is defined as a person who gives fewer benefits than they receive. During this activity, you will observe the frequency of cheating behavior over time.
HYPOTHESES: The experimental hypothesis is that cheaters will receive fewer benefits over time and cooperators will continue to provide equal benefits to one another. The null hypothesis is that the frequency of cheaters and cooperators does not change over time.
Each person should collect beads of one color to represent a tangible benefit, as well as one paper bag and a three-ring binder.
Get into a group of three so that all members have objects of the same color.
Now find another group with a different color to pair with. In each round, partners will exchange benefits without knowing what they are receiving from their partner and without discussion within their group. NOTE: Benefits of a different color from your starting color are worth twice as much.
Turn face to face with a member from the other group while still being able to conceal the objects in your possession. TIP: Setting up a screen using a notebook or sitting behind a desk can be helpful here.
When given a signal from the instructor, place zero to two benefits into the paper bag and pass it to your partner.
Simultaneously, receive the bag from your partner and then remove the benefits from the bag.
Make a note of how many benefits you gave away and how many you received in the Cheating and Cooperation Table (Table 4) provided by your instructor.
Turn to a new member from the other group and repeat the exchange.
Rotate through all of the members of the other group for as many rounds as the instructor determines - which will not be revealed until the game ends so as not to alter player behavior.
Once the game has ended, note for each round in the cheating and cooperation table whether you gave more than your partner, received more from them or if you gave the same amount.
Now total up all of the benefits in your possession, with benefits you've received from the other group being worth twice as much.
For each round, the whole class should total up the number of cheaters - with cheaters defined as those who gave less than they received.