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A prisoner’s dilemma experiment on cooperation with people and human-like computers

By Sara Kiesler, Lee Sproull and John Miller


Klasky, anonymous JPSP reviewers, and the associate editor, Jerry Suls, provided very helpful suggestions on the manuscript. Financial support was provided through a NIMH scientist development award # MH 00533 to the first author and a grant from Digital Equipment Corporation to the second author. 2 We sought to understand basic properties of social exchange and how people interact with technology in an experiment on how people respond in a dilemma game with a computer partner varying in human-like attributes as compared with a real human partner. Explanations of cooperation following discussion in dilemmas draw on theories of human social identity and social contract. We proposed that talking with a computer partner triggers social identity feelings and commitment norms people typically follow in decisions. Subjects played a prisoner's dilemma game over 6 trials with a confederate or a computer partner who always cooperated on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th trials. We varied discussion and inducements to make promises across trials. On trial 1, subjects converse

Year: 1996
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