The Experiments

It is all too easy for us to sit back and watch dodgy deals happening in business and politics, and pretend that we would NEVER act that way. But that is delusional!

In the right circumstances we all succumb to the Game of Mates.

How do I know that?

I conducted experiments on over 500 students using a computer game that allowed for groups student participants to play in one of two ways. They could cooperate in the interests of the group and maximise the total economic pie. Or, alternatively, two players could start their own “Game of Mates” by feeling out the other’s loyalty and begin to trade “grey gifts” amongst themselves. Doing this not only stole money from the others, it shrunk the total economic pie! To steal $20 cost the other players $30!

And guess what? In 84% of the experimental groups, otherwise honest student participants chose the second way. They formed their very own Game of Mates.

What’s more, the student participants said that they felt good about creating a Game of Mates in the experiment! That’s because the Game is not actually selfish. It is very pro-social. After all, what is more pro-social than gift-giving amongst friends.

Watch the video teaser below for more. Or just buy the book.


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