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March 21, 2008

From NPR & Nature: Victors don't punish

NPR's All Things Considered from March 19, 2008 offers a story about a modification to the "prisoner's dilemma" game that psychologists have used to study human behavior. Their interpretation of the study is that nice guys finish first. The full report of the study is published in the journal Nature under the title: "Human Behavior: Punisher Pays". Nature still requires a subscription, or a university library affiliation to access the full text of their articles so I've linked to their editor's summary. Their interpretation is that players who punish recalcitrant or defecting collaborators don't score as highly in their game as do those who choose to leave the collaboration and find other collaborators.

The study is interesting in its broad outlines. The useful interpretations will have to take into account that the study looks at collaborative pairs, and that the study population were college students. It is possible to question if the study population was coerced; that is to say, "Were the students required to participate in the study as a part of their Psych 301 class?" If so, Would such coercion affect the outcome?

Posted by SWEAT at 10:04 AM

From NY Times: New War Game Storms College Campuses

I remember an early Alternate Reality Game called "assasin". It too started on college campuses and trickled down to my high school. We played it with plastic dart guns. There was even a "b" movie made about it.

Now the New York Times is reporting about a kind of war game that has started among the campuses of the Ivy League and has quickly spread across the country.


I haven't played it yet, nor seen it played, and so I don't have any standing to comment on the game itself beyond raising awareness. Given the present climate of fear and censorship on High School Campuses, I doubt that school resources could be used by students to play. This may limit the trickle down to elite populations of high school kids who have resources at home.

Posted by SWEAT at 08:16 AM

March 13, 2008

Toronto echoes

photograph of Rin Rin the webkinz with Rafael Fajardo in the background
R: Resonances and echoes from my recent trip to Toronto.

I also am indebted to my good friend Frederich Burbach who recommended me to the selection committee for the visiting artists program, and who hosted me during my stay.

Posted by SWEAT at 06:17 PM