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This paper describes a type of selfish node behavior in the MAC layer and studies its effects on the performance of ad hoc networks. We use a game-theoretic approach to investigate the selfish behavior problem by focusing on the strategy that a node can adopt during wireless channel access. Based on this investigation, we obtained the guidelines to design a mechanism that can force the selfish node to obey the IEEE 802.11 protocol, and therefore improve the performance of wireless ad hoc networks. The algorithm consists of two parts. The first part detects selfish behavior based on the throughput, and the second part prevents the selfish behavior. The algorithm has been validated by extensive simulation. Simulation results show that our algorithm are effective in detecting the selfish nodes and eliminate their selfish behavior. As a result, every node can obtain a relatively fair throughput when following the guideline of our algorithm.