Tragedy of the Commons

While I was not a Psychology major, and didn’t really even take too many behavioral science courses, it has recently become an interest of mine. Social experimentation through well-published authors like Malcolm Gladwell or Dan Ariely is something I find fascinating.

Which is why, when I stumbled onto this post about a Maryland Professor’s social experiment for extra credit on a final exam, I figured I had to share. I am not surprised in the least that only one class has ever gotten the credit. And that he surmises that class is likely an outlier. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people in Corporate America operate under similar principles… “What’s best for me” is (generally) always chosen over “what’s best for the group”, when all things are equal AND you’re allowed to be anonymous. And I don’t know that this is a bad thing. For me, it is kind of one of those “it is what it is” things. We are only human, and only so far removed from animals. It’s sort of just how we’ve all been programmed from tens of thousands of years of social existence. Perhaps we should just embrace it and figure out other ways to delight and engage the masses!

Til Next Time,


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