Social Traps

Social Trap, first introduced by John Platt in 1973, is a situation that resembles a group that posses a common resource. It is in the individual’s best interest to selfishly consume a common resource to achieve fast short-term gain. However, if all the individuals act selfishly, the group ends up damaging its resource in the long run. The first laboratory experiment to simulate social traps was conducted by Kevin Brechner [1,2]. I replicated Brechner’s laboratory and the social traps experiment in SecondLife [3]. The participants’ behavioral patterns were found to be similar to the original experiment by Brechner.

[1] Brechner, K. C. 1974. An experimental analysis of social traps. Ph.D. Dissertation. Arizona State University.

[2]    (1977). An experimental analysis of social traps. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13, 6 (1977), 552–564. 10.1016/0022-1031(77)90054-3.

[3] Lazem, S., and Gračanin, D. Social Traps in Second Life., In Proc. VS-GAMES 2010, IEEE Computer Society (2010), 133-140. 10.1109/VS-GAMES.2010.29

Below are some photos from my Social Traps laboratory in SecondLife. Enjoy!

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