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Social Traps in Second Life

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2 Author(s)
Lazem, S. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA ; Gracanin, D.

Social traps are examples of social dilemma situations, where an individual acts for personal advantage that is damaging the group as a whole. Traps can be avoided, nevertheless, by the proper cooperation between the group members. A laboratory analog of social traps was implemented by Brechner in the 1970's. We built a a Second Life analog for Brechner's experiment to explore social traps and how coordination takes place in a 3D virtual world. While some of the groups that were not allowed to communicate succeeded in avoiding the trap, communication had a significant effect on how the participants regulated their resource. We observed very similar response patterns compared to the original experiment. That, in turn, shows a great potential for using virtual worlds as collaborative tools. We also analyzed the social traps experiment using game theory and the results of the experiments match the game theory predictions.

Published in:

Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-GAMES), 2010 Second International Conference on

Date of Conference:

25-26 March 2010