Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Miller, Charles E.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Prisoner's dilemma game--Psychological aspects; Games of strategy (Mathematics)--Psychological aspects; Game theory--Psychological aspects


The purpose of the present study was to extend the work of the author's master's thesis that tested implications derived from a theoretical analysis of structural solutions for the N-person Prisoner's Dilemma (NPD) game. Participants in the present study took part in one of two NPD games differing in payoff configuration, and received feedback about the choice behavior of other purported group members indicating that most of the others were cooperative or most were uncooperative. The two NPD games differed only in the payoff for cooperation; the payoff for defection and the social fine, or externality, were held constant. After playing one trial of the game, participants were given the opportunity to play one additional trial, either in the same laissez-faire manner as before (with no restrictions on choice behavior) or by adopting one of two structural solutions to the game (determining choices by majority rule or by a superordinate authority). The theoretical analysis that was tested suggests that different structural solutions should be preferred under the two different versions of the NPD. This prediction was not confirmed in the aforementioned master's thesis, nor, despite a number of methodological modifications, was it confirmed in the present study. To explore preferences for structural solutions further, a choice model was also examined. Some support was obtained for this model. Finally, the impact of social value orientation on choice behavior and preferences for structural solutions was assessed. The results demonstrated that social value orientation did not influence choice behavior or preferences for structural solutions. Possible explanations for the present findings were discussed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [100]-104).


ix, 176 pages




Northern Illinois University

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