Game Theory and the Effects of Age on Cooperation


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Cooperation is an important behavior because it can affect all aspects of life (Sandholm and Crites 1996; Kagel and McGee 2016; Cohen etal. 1999). The Prisonor’s Dilemma is a classic game theory game of cooperation (Falk and Fischbacher 2006). It shows that pure cooperation is a better strategy than pure non-cooperation, but that cheating when others try to cooperate is even better. Here, we wanted to test the effects of age on cooperation in a prisoner’s dilemma game. We did this by having individuals play two types of simple card games – one called Section A and the other called Section B. Section A was where a player played different partners in each round, while in Section B a player played the same partner repeatedly. Our focal subjects were “college students” and “elderly people.” Our hypothesis is that elderly people will cooperate more than college students. However, our results suggest the opposite occurred, with college students cooperating more than elderly people.


Citation: Gray, I. (2017). Game Theory and the Effects of Age on Cooperation . 1st Annual Undergraduate Research Experience in Entomology Symposium, November 16, 2016. Manhattam, KS.