Human Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 387–395 | Cite as

The effects of information in a resource management problem: A social trap analog

  • Julian J. Edney
  • Christopher S. Harper

Abstract

A resource management simulation was devised in which players could harvest points for individual short-term gain, causing the premature destruction of the resource pool, or they could curb their own individual harvesting to preserve the pool for a longer overall supply. Although the first strategy was explained to be self-defeating, most groups opted for it, as they did even when an optimal harvesting strategy was provided that would avoid pool destruction. Groups whose members were allowed to communicate generally made better resource managers and achieved larger individual harvests.

Key words

resource management commons dilemma communication social trap 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Brechner, K. C. (1977). An experimental analysis of social traps.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 63: 428–433.Google Scholar
  2. Cass, R. C. (1975). Territoriality and the tragedy of the commons: A social trap analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University, University Microfilms No. 75–28, 482.Google Scholar
  3. Cass, R. C. and Edney, J. J. (1978). The commons dilemma: A simulation testing the effects of resource visibility and territorial division.Human Ecology 6: 371–386.Google Scholar
  4. Dawes, R, M. (1973). The commons dilemma: Ann-person mixed-motive game with a dominating strategy for defection.Oregon Research Institute Research Bulletin 13: 1–12.Google Scholar
  5. Dawes, R. M. (1975). Formal models of dilemmas in social decision-making. In M. S. Kaplan and S. Schwartz (eds.),Human Judgment and Decision Processes: Formal and Mathematical Approaches. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Dawes, R. M., McTavish, J., and Shaklee, H. (1977). Behavior, communication, and assumptions about other people's behavior in a commons dilemma situation.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 35: 1–11.Google Scholar
  7. Edney, J. J., and Harpler, C. S. (in press). Heroism in a resource crisis: A simulation study.Environmental Management.Google Scholar
  8. Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons.Science 162: 1243–1248.Google Scholar
  9. Harper, C. S. (1978). Competition and cooperation in a resource management task: A social trap analog. In S. Weideman and J. Anderson (eds.),Priorities for Environmental Design Research. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Design Research Association.Google Scholar
  10. Jerdee, T. H., and Rosen, B. (1974). Effects of opportunity to communicate and visibility of individual decisions on behavior in the common interest.Journal of Applied Psychology 59: 712–716.Google Scholar
  11. Platt, J. Social traps. (1973).American Psychologist 28: 641–651.Google Scholar
  12. Stern, P. C. (1976). Effects of incentives and education on resource conservation decisions in a simulated commons dilemma.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34: 1285–1292.Google Scholar
  13. Watzke, G. E., Dana, J. M., Doktor, R. H., and Rubenstein, R. H. (1972). An experimental study of individual versus group interest.Acta Sociologica 15: 366–376.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian J. Edney
    • 1
  • Christopher S. Harper
    • 1
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempe

Personalised recommendations